VERIFY: The Trump campaign is signaling a recount in Wisconsin. Here’s what that means and what to expect

The Trump campaign is calling for a recount in Wisconsin. Here’s a look at Wisconsin’s recount laws and how it could impact the election.

WASHINGTON — The hype of Election Day ended with a cliffhanger with races too close to call in several key states. 

By morning, Nevada, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia and Alaska had not yet been called, leaving a combined 76 electoral votes still on the table. 

Just before 1:00 p.m. EST, President Trump’s campaign manager issued a statement[1] that they would request a recount in Wisconsin.

“Despite ridiculous public polling used as a voter suppression tactic, Wisconsin has been a razor-thin race as we always knew that it would be,” Bill Stepien, Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, said.

“There have been reports of irregularities in several Wisconsin counties which raise serious doubts about the validity of the results,” he continued. “The President is well within the threshold to request a recount and we will immediately do so.”

At 1:16 p.m.[2] the Associated Press projected Joe Biden won Wisconsin. 

WUSA9 relies[3] on the data compiled and projections called by the Associated Press and CBS News for the presidential race, U.S. Senate races and U.S. Congressional races.  

Wisconsin does not post unofficial results on their election’s website. They post county counts from across the state.

Meagan Wolfe is an Elections Commission Administrator for the Wisconsin Elections Commission. 

“What the law says, that on election night, that each municipality submits their unofficial results—’unofficial’ being the keyword—to their county, and the county then posts the unofficial results by reporting unit on their website,” she said in a recent Zoom call[4].  

“There is no certified election night aggregate of results,” Wolfe continued. “That is according to state law, that is not a process that we made up or adopted. That is according to state law and we followed state law.” 

What does a recount look like?

The Verify team is looking into what a recount in Wisconsin looks like, and answering your questions.

Our source is the recount manual[5] assembled by the Wisconsin Elections Commission[6] in August 2018 and statements [7]from the agency. 

Does Wisconsin do automatic recounts?

Several states have what’s called an ‘automatic recount,’ which means a recount is automatically triggered if the results fall within a certain threshold. 

For instance, one way an automatic recount can be triggered in Washington, D.C.[8], is if a candidate wins by a margin of less than one percent of the total votes cast for that office.

However, Wisconsin doesn’t have automatic recounts.

“Wisconsin does not have automatic recounts, even if the unofficial results are extremely close,” the Wisconsin Election Commission wrote in a press release [9]on November 1. 

“A losing candidate who wants to ask for a recount must wait until the last day a county board of canvassers meets, which is at least one week after the election,” the release continued. “The deadline for requesting a recount is three business days after the Elections Commission receives the last statement from a county board of canvassers.” 

Who can request a recount in Wisconsin?

State law defines who has the authority to request a recount. 

1 2