In this Tuesday, November 3, file photo, poll workers sort out early and absentee ballots at the Kenosha Municipal building on Election Day, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Wong Maye-E/AP/FILE
The Wisconsin Elections Commission said Monday that if President Trump’s campaign wants a recount of the razor-thin presidential race in the state, they will need to pay $7.9 million upfront.
CNN projected that President-elect Joe Biden will win Wisconsin and its 10 electoral votes. According to unofficial results, Biden leads Trump by 20,470 votes, or 0.62%. That close outcome makes the race eligible for a recount if the losing candidate requests one. But because Biden’s winning margin is larger than 0.25%, state law says that the Trump campaign must prepay the estimated cost of the recount.
Meagan Wolfe, Wisconsin's chief elections official, said Monday that the estimated price tag is $7.9 million, which is much higher than the $2 million statewide recount that was conducted after the 2016 election.
“These estimates are significantly higher than the actual costs of the 2016 recount, but they take into account factors not present four years ago, including the need for larger spaces to permit public observation and social distancing, security for those spaces, the higher number of absentee ballots, a compressed timeframe over a holiday, and renting high-speed ballot scanning equipment," Wolfe said.
The deadline to file for a recount and submit payment Wednesday at 5 p.m. CT, and that day is the only day that the Trump campaign can file its request. The recount must be completed by Dec. 1, which is also the deadline, under state law, for the Wisconsin Elections Commission to certify the results.
Wolfe added that the Wisconsin Elections Commission still has not received an official request from the Trump campaign for a recount, but they want to be prepared. The Trump campaign previously announced that it wants a recount in Wisconsin and, has pushed false conspiracy theories about voting irregularities.
“We still have not received any indication that there will or will not be a recount,” Wolfe said.