Trump team to ‘immediately’ request recount in Wisconsin; here’s why they can’t do it yet
MADISON, Wis. — President Donald Trump’s team said Wednesday he will order a recount in Wisconsin “immediately.”
Legally he can’t do so yet, and if he chooses to it might not change much based off prior recounts in the state.
Before Trump can order a recount, election results have to be certified by municipalities and counties, and the state is not there yet. Trump would need to be within 1% of Biden to order a recount (which as of now, he is), but those results are unofficial and will be until after canvassing.
It’s too early for Trump to order a recount in Wisconsin. By law, he can’t do so until the state gets county-level results (provided he is still within 1% of Biden). That won’t be for about another 2 weeks.
— Amy Reid (@amyreidreports) November 4, 2020
“The canvass process is where the municipal election officials double check all the results to make sure that they have the correct number of registrations, to make sure that everything checks out,” said Meagan Wolfe, the administrator for the Wisconsin Elections Commission. “Then the counties, they do the same.”
If after counties check results Trump is still within 1% he could ask for a recount. Trump would have to pay for it unless he’s within a quarter of a percent.
If Trump orders a recount it would be the third time in a decade for a statewide race.
Madison city attorney Michael Haas watched over the last one in 2016 when he was the administrator for the elections commission.
“So far the election in Wisconsin is very smoothly run,” Haas said. “Fortunately we did not have incidents at the polls, and we all just have to be a little patient and wait for the process to play out.”
He doubts the results would be much different in a recount. In 2016 it only changed 131 votes.
“It takes a lot for it to really make a substantial change as a result of a recount,” he said. “For instance we don’t expect a margin of 20,000 votes to be reversed as a result of the recount.”
Election officials are confident the process went and is still going according to law.
“I think it’s insulting to our local election officials to say that yesterday’s election was anything but an incredible success that was a result of years of preparation and carefully, meticulously following the law,” Wolfe said.
There are still ballots to be counted in Wisconsin.
Those overseas still have time for their ballots to arrive and anyone who cast a provisional ballot has until Friday to bring in a valid ID.
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