MILWAUKEE — President Donald Trump’s campaign is taking steps to file for a recount in Wisconsin.
His campaign has not requested a statewide recount, but a partial recount in two heavily Democratic counties: Milwaukee and Dane. The Wisconsin Elections Commission received an overnight wire transfer from the Trump campaign for $3 million, the WEC said Wednesday morning.
Democrat Joe Biden received 577,455 votes in these counties, compared with 213,157 for Trump. Biden won statewide by 20,608 votes, based on canvassed results submitted by the counties.
The $3 million is enough to cover the $2.8 million cost of a recount in the two counties, with the Trump campaign saying they were the sights of the “worst irregularities," and citing illegally altered absentee ballots, illegally issued absentee ballots, and illegal advice given by government officials. This comes although no evidence of wrongdoing has been presented and state elections officials have said there was none.
The WEC said the president's team sent the partial recount petition Wednesday morning.
"No other counties or jurisdictions were requested,” said Meagan Wolfe, Wisconsin’s chief election official. “It was filed in-person in our office today at 10:58 a.m. and appears, upon facial review, to meet all of the requirements in pairing with the payment that was received late yesterday.”
“We understand the eyes of the world will be on these Wisconsin counties over the next few weeks," Wolfe added. "We remain committed to providing information about the process and assisting our county clerks by providing facts on the mechanics of a recount and status updates.”
The final Wisconsin county submitted its canvassed vote totals to the state elections commission on Tuesday morning, starting the clock for Trump to file for a recount as he has promised supporters he would.
“The people of Wisconsin deserve to know whether their election processes worked in a legal and transparent way. Regrettably, the integrity of the election results cannot be trusted without a recount in these two counties and uniform enforcement of Wisconsin absentee ballot requirements. We will not know the true results of the election until only the legal ballots cast are counted,” said Jim Troupis, counsel to the campaign. “We will not stop fighting for transparency and integrity in our electoral process to ensure that all Americans can trust the results of a free and fair election in Wisconsin and across the country.”
If he wanted a statewide recount, Trump would have had to pay $7.9 million up front; his request for specific counties reduces the cost.
Recounts in Wisconsin and across the country have historically resulted in very few vote changes. A 2016 presidential recount in Wisconsin netted Trump an additional 131 votes.
Trump won Wisconsin by fewer than 23,000 votes that year and opposed the recount brought by Green Party candidate Jill Stein.
“The people have spoken and the election is over,” Trump said at the time. “We must accept this result and then look to the future.”
After a special meeting Wednesday evening, the Commission Chair on Thursday will issue the recount order. It starts the 13-day recount clock and is also the first day that recount boards can meet.
The deadline by which county boards of canvassers must convene for the recount is 9 a.m. Saturday, and the deadline to complete the recount is noon Dec. 1.