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Evers rips Trump campaign’s push for Wisconsin recount

Published: Nov. 4, 2020 at 12:01 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 4, 2020 at 6:27 PM CST
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WASHINGTON (WMTV) - Before the Wisconsin presidential race was even called, President Donald Trump and his campaign announced they planned to request a recount of the results.

“The President is well within the threshold to request a recount and we will do so immediately,” campaign manager Bill Stepien said.

The Trump campaign issued its statement late Wednesday morning claiming irregularities were found in several Wisconsin counties that raise questions about the outcome. It did not detail the nature of the alleged inconsistencies nor did it specify which counties were affected.

During a news conference that afternoon, Gov. Tony Evers described the campaign’s accusations as ‘beyond irresponsible,’ but added it was not unexpected from the president.

“Our election officials work so God Damn hard – and for the president to speak that way about these officials…” he said trailing off for a moment. “We had a smooth election for a pandemic, and for the campaign to say those things, it’s more of the same B.S.”

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The campaign’s statement came shortly before Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe met virtually with reporters to discuss where the race in the Badger State stood. When asked about the potential recount, Wolfe indicated she had not known about a request. She quickly went on to express her faith in the Wisconsin election system, which she described as transparent and ‘meticulous.’

Under Wisconsin law, a losing candidate who finishes within one percent of the winner’s vote total in an election where more than 4,000 people voted (or within 40 votes if fewer than 4,000 votes were cast) may request a recount. There is no mechanism to trigger an automatic recount.

As it stands, former vice president Joe Biden leads the Republican incumbent by approximately 20,000 votes with all precincts reporting.

But before Pres. Trump can make a recount request, he must wait for the official election results.

Wisconsin’s 1,840 municipalities have tallied their unofficial results, but the ballots will also be checked at the county and the state levels.

When that’s complete, the results are certified and considered “official.” The Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) will certify the results on Dec. 1. At that point, if Pres. Trump loses by 1% or less of the vote, he can request a recount. That’s a rule Attorney General Josh Kaul said was issued after a recount request four years ago.

“After the presidential election, it was Jill Stein of the Green Party who requested a recount of that election and the legislature responded to that by passing those rules in place that the candidate requesting the recount be within one percent of the winning candidate,” Kaul said. The WEC said county election officials oversee requested recounts, but they can ask nearby municipalities for help.

According to state law, after a recount request is made, officials have 13 days to complete the process.

There are also rules in place that vary for who pays for the recount.

“If a candidate is within .25 percentage points in Wisconsin, the state will pay for that, but if it’s larger than that, the candidate is still able to request the recount, but the candidate has to pay for that recount,” Kaul said.

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