Wisconsin election officials say canvassing efforts for county election results are well underway, and will likely be completed by the mid-November deadline. That comes as election officials prepare for a potential recount.
Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe says that Wisconsin’s 1,850 cities, towns and villages have already completed their canvass and certified the election at the local level. County canvassing is now underway, and 55 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties have already certified the election results.
“Canvass is where our local election officials double check the results,” Wolfe says.
Officials will check that they have the same number of ballots issued as voter signatures in the poll book and absentee requests, and confirm that everyone who voted was registered. Wolfe says she expects the county canvass results by next Tuesday, November 17th.
The Trump campaign has until the following day at 5pm to request a recount. Wolfe says the election commission is expecting a recount petition.
“Any aggrieved party, and that’s defined as the top two vote-getters in a contest, that are within 1% of the margin of victory, that second most vote-getter is eligible to file for a recount,” Wolfe says.
Since the margin is greater than .25%, the Trump campaign will have to foot the bill for the recount in advance.
Although recount costs are still being estimated, Commission spokesman Reid Magney says the recount in 2016 cost just over $2 million. But, the cost may be higher this year due to the necessary Covid-19 safety precautions. Holiday pay could also increase costs, depending on the recount’s timeline.
Recounts are unlikely to change the election results. During 2016’s recount, initiated by Green Party candidate Jill Stein, the tally changed by 131 votes for then-candidate Donald Trump, who carried the state by about 23,000 votes. This election, Biden carried the state by about 20,000 votes.
“A recount in a lot of ways is like a canvas, it’s really to double-check on the process,” Wolfe says.
The recount would be conducted by county clerks, not by municipality. They’ll have 13 days to complete the recount, including three days to reconvene and organize.
A recount, if there is one, is projected to end by the first week of December.