The Wisconsin Elections Commission confirmed that it has received a wire transfer from the campaign for $3 million to cover the costs of the partial recount, as required under state law. The commission said the campaign had not yet filed its petition seeking the recount, but the campaign said it would file today asking to recount the results in Milwaukee and in Dane County, home of Madison.
Trump trails President-elect Joe Biden by about 20,600 votes in Wisconsin, or 0.6 percent, a margin that experts agree he is unlikely to make up during a recount. However, under state law, he is entitled to a recount given that Biden’s margin of victory is less than 1 percent — provided his campaign agreed to pay for the process in advance.
State officials announced earlier this week that it would cost $7.9 million to conduct a recount statewide. Recounting ballots in only two counties reduces the cost but also makes it even less likely that the process would turn up enough votes to close the gap between Trump and Biden. About 804,000 ballots were cast in the two counties.
Trump signed off on the move Tuesday night in talks with advisers and former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who is leading his legal challenges, two people close to the campaign said.
The campaign had said right after the Nov. 3 vote that it would “immediately” seek a Wisconsin recount, citing “irregularities.” But under state law, it could not ask for the recount until the state’s 72 counties completed canvasses of the vote, a process that was completed Tuesday. The campaign Wednesday cited various problems it believed took place in the Wisconsin vote. State officials have said the vote ran smoothly and with no problems.
The state elections commission is scheduled to meet Wednesday to formally accept the petition once it is submitted and initiate the local recounts. The counties would have 13 days to complete the process. State officials have said the timeline will still allow results to be certified Dec. 1, as required by state law.