Trump adds 131 votes in Wisconsin recount

Election certified ahead of schedule
Trump adds 131 votes in Wisconsin recount
Jessica Arp
Mark Thomsen certifies Wisconsin presidential election results 

Republican President-elect Donald Trump’s victory in Wisconsin has widened by just 131 votes following a statewide recount of nearly 3 million votes.

Wisconsin on Monday certified results of the recount requested and paid for by Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Earlier it said Trump had picked up 162 more votes.

“It’s amazing that we were that close,” said Elections Commission Chair Mark Thomsen.

Trump in the end defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton by 22,748 votes.

Stein requested the recount in Wisconsin and tried unsuccessfully for recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania, alleging without evidence that voting machines could have been hacked. Recounts there were halted by the courts.

Wisconsin Elections Commission Chairman Mark Thomsen says the recount revealed no evidence of any hacking.

“It is my understanding that we found no evidence of any hack in terms of our computer infrastructure system,” Thomsen said.

The recount was certified more than 24 hours prior to what had been scheduled after county clerks finished ahead of their own deadlines.

“This was really a remarkable achievement by the county clerks, the canvassing boards, the tabulators, the municipal clerks,” said Elections Commission administrator Mike Haas. “It’s something that’s never been done before in the state of Wisconsin, conducting a recount of a presidential election, and I think the fact this was done in 10 days is a credit to those individuals.”

Commissioners were disagreeing Monday though, about the value of the recount in the state.

“The fact that we did a recount gave us frankly as the commission a complete audit of our complete state system to identify where the weaknesses are,” Thomsen said.

But another commissioner said he thought it was unfortunate Stein used state law to request the recount.

“My personal view is that this is really part of a scam PAC that allowed Jill Stein and the green party to raise more money at the expense of our volunteers and clerks at the local and county level ,” said commissioner Don Millis.

In the end, the recount should only cost local clerks their time. Stein will be required to pay for the total recount costs. She has already submitted $3.5 million to the state and may have to pay more if the final cost comes in higher.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says the presidential recount vote makes “very clear the vote was legitimate.”

Walker says the recount placed a burden on local election clerks who were busy with other year-end duties.

The Republican governor also says he doesn’t have any information related to a CIA assessment that Russia interfered in the November election on Trump’s behalf.