On Wednesday afternoon (Nov. 4), while voting results were still rolling in, Donald Trump’s campaign announced that it would demand a recount in Wisconsin. Campaign manager Bill Stepien released a statement about the campaign’s plans, citing “irregularities” in Wisconsin voting results.
“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,” the statement read. “There have been reports of irregularities in several Wisconsin counties which raise serious doubts about the validity of the results. The President is well within the threshold to request a recount and we will immediately do so.”
In order to qualify for a recount, the voter margin in the state will need to be within 1 percentage point, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The Associated Press has not called the race at the time of publishing, but some outlets have reported that all ballots in the state have been counted. As of 1:45 p.m. EST, AP writes that 95 percent of the ballots have been counted, with 49.6 percent going for Joe Biden and 48.9 percent voting for Trump. That margin is 20,517 votes.
If the margin grows larger than 1 percent, the Trump campaign will not be allowed to demand a recount. After the race is called, Wisconsin counties will need to conduct voter canvasses, which are required to be completed by Nov. 17. After that, Trump’s campaign can request a recount as long as the small margin still stands.
According to the Elections Commission, the Trump campaign would also have to pay for the recount if the margin is between a quarter of a percentage point and a point. However, if the margin is smaller than that, the state will pay for it.
Trump’s campaign’s announcement arrives as ballots continue to be counted in key battleground states. Potential recounts are just one variable that could slow down election results, which have already been delayed due to the influx of mail-in ballots.
Back in 2016, Republicans changed Wisconsin’s state recount laws after Green Party candidate Jill Stein requested a recount. The recount only resulted in a minimal change and Trump ended up winning the state by a margin of 23,000 votes. After that, state Republicans imposed new requirements, making it so losing candidates could only demand a recount if the margin was 1 percentage point or less.
See Trump’s campaign manager’s statement below.