It will cost nearly $8 million for a recount of the presidential election in battleground Wisconsin.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission estimated Monday it will cost President Trump's election campaign $7.9 million to count ballots again in all of the state's 72 counties. The counties are expected to conclude canvassing this Tuesday, and the campaign can formally request a recount on Wednesday.
Members of the Trump campaign have indicated they want a recount, though the campaign must wait until the counties finish canvassing before they can make a formal request. The state's top election official, Meagan Wolfe, said in a statement Monday that they have not received any indication that there "will or will not be a recount."
Unofficial election results have Joe Biden winning Wisconsin by about 20,500 votes. Because the margin of victory is about 0.62 percent, lower than the 1 percent threshold required by Wisconsin law, the Trump campaign is eligible for a recount. But because that margin is above 0.25 percent, the aggrieved candidate, in this case President Trump, must pay Wisconsin the estimated cost of a recount.
Wolfe said in the note Monday that the cost of a 2020 recount is significantly higher than the recount in 2016, which reaffirmed Trump's victory in the state. Wolfe explained that the higher cost is in part due to the need for larger spaces to permit public observation and social distancing, security for those spaces, the higher number of absentee ballots, a smaller time-frame over the holiday and the renting of high-speed ballot scanning equipment.
Wolfe continued that the money the Wisconsin Elections Commission would spend on a recount is less than $30,000 of the total $7.9 million estimate. If the estimated cost exceeds the actual cost of a recount, the Trump campaign will receive a refund for the difference, according to Wolfe.
According to supplemental documents from the WEC Monday, the recount in Milwaukee County is estimated to cost $2,039,030 - the highest estimated cost for a recount in any of the 72 counties.
The WEC released the following timeline for a potential recount in Wisconsin:
- Tuesday, November 17, 2020 – The last county canvass is received. There are several counties outstanding, and some have indicated they will not be finished before November 17.
- Wednesday, November 18 by 5:00 p.m. – The deadline for the aggrieved presidential candidate to file for a recount and submit payment.
- Thursday, November 19, 2020 – The Commission Chair issues the Recount Order. This starts the 13-day recount clock and is also the first day that recount boards can meet.
- Saturday, November 21, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. – The deadline by which county boards of canvassers must convene for the recount (no later than 9:00 a.m. on the third day after the recount order is issued).
- Tuesday, December 1, 2020 – The deadline to complete the recount. This is also the deadline, under Wisconsin law, for WEC to certify results from the General Election. Therefore, recounts must be completed and results must be filed with WEC by noon on December 1, 2020.
View the estimated costs of a 2020 recount in Wisconsin below: