Nov 18, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump campaign says it will file for a recount in 2 Wisconsin counties

Picture of President Donald Trump in the White House

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

The Trump campaign said on Wednesday that it plans to file for recounts in two Wisconsin counties — a state Joe Biden won by more than 20,600 votes, per AP.

The state of play: According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Trump paid the $3 million needed for a recount in Milwaukee and Dane counties — two of the most liberal counties in the state. The recount must start no later than Saturday and finish by Dec. 1.

Between the lines via Axios' Jonathan Swan: The Wisconsin partial recount is the most important signal so far that Trump will continue with his challenges until Dec. 14.

The big picture: Recounts have historically only changed electoral margins by very few votes, according to the nonpartisan election reform group FairVote.

  • Former Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker suggested after the election that Biden's lead in the state was too steep to be overturned in a recount, saying "20,000 is a big hurdle" for the president.
  • Trump won the state in 2016 by 23,000 votes, and the state recount that year netted the president an additional 131 votes.

Worth noting: There is already a by-hand recount underway in Georgia, where Biden leads by around 14,000 votes.

  • In Pennsylvania, Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said she will not order a recount or recanvass of ballots cast in the 2020 election "as no statewide candidate was defeated by one-half of 1% or less of the votes cast."

Editor's note: Scott Walker is a former governor of Wisconsin (not the current governor).

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