Wisconsin plans to begin a recount Thursday morning of votes cast in the presidential election, but in a blow to Green Party candidate Jill Stein, a judge ruled Tuesday night that the procedure does not have to happen entirely by hand.
“I follow the law. That's who I am despite my personal opinions,” said Dane County Circuit Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported. “It's [the counties’] decision. It's their discretion. I may disagree with it ... but I must follow the law.”
The Wisconsin Elections Commission announced Tuesday that it had received nearly $3.5 million from Stein's campaign to pay for the recount. The state said it would bill Stein for any additional costs.
State officials said the recount would begin at 9 a.m. Thursday and that all county-level efforts must be completed by 8 p.m. on Dec. 12.
Stein's campaign expressed disappointment that the state would give counties the option of a hand recount or a machine recount, but said it would press ahead nonetheless.
“Tonight’s ruling will not deter our efforts, and we will continue to work with the Wisconsin Elections Commission to see this recount through,” Stein attorney Matthew D. Brinckerhoff said in a statement.
State Attorney General Brad Schimel, a Republican, expressed a different perspective, saying in his own statement that he was “very pleased with the Judge’s decision, particularly because she followed the law enacted by the legislature that sets the parameters for a hand recount.”
Wisconsin is one of three states where Stein is moving ahead with plans to force a recount, citing concerns about the possibility of hacks in the vote tally, although she has presented no evidence of malfeasance. She has taken legal action to try to force one in Pennsylvania and says she is planning to ask for one in Michigan on Wednesday.
Republican Donald Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton by one percentage point in Wisconsin. Stein finished well behind both candidates.
The Michigan Republican Party, speaking on behalf of President-elect Trump's team, said Tuesday that it sees a potential recount there as a waste of time and state resources. But it would not say whether it would file a legal challenge to stop one if Stein follows through on her pledge.
The Clinton campaign has joined the recount efforts initiated by Stein, although her team has said it does not expect the outcome of the election to be reversed.