Wisconsin will move forward on Green Party candidate Jill Stein's official petition for a statewide recount of votes, the state's Elections Commission announced Friday. Stein filed a petition for a hand recount just a few hours before the deadline following three days of intense fundraising, in which she raised enough money to cover the costs of filing fees and logistical expenses. But with President-elect Donald Trump set to be sworn into office in 55 days, when will the Wisconsin recount happen?
"The Commission is preparing to move forward with a statewide recount of votes for President of the United States," Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Michael Haas said in a statement Friday, adding that a second recount petition had been filed by independent presidential candidate Rocky Roque De La Fuente. According to state officials recount efforts are expected to get underway sometime next week.
"We have assembled an internal team to direct the recount, we have been in close consultation with our county clerk partners, and have arranged for legal representation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice," Haas said. "We plan to hold a teleconference meeting for county clerks next week and anticipate the recount will begin late in the week after the Stein campaign has paid the recount fee, which we are still calculating."
Since launching her crowdfunding initiative Nov. 23, Stein has raised more than $5.7 million as of Saturday afternoon to cover the costs of recounts in three swing states — Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan — where a narrow margin of votes propelled Trump to unexpected victories. In Wisconsin, Trump took the state's 10 electoral college votes by a margin of 22,177 votes, according to data provided by the state's Elections Commission.
Stein's campaign has acknowledged that recount efforts were unlikely to change the results of the 2016 election, but said she was concerned by discussions of hacking that had repeatedly cropped up throughout the campaign season and wanted to ensure the integrity of the vote.
Neither Trump not Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton have commented on Stein's push for a recount, although Clinton's campaign announced Saturday it would participate in the Wisconsin recount despite having had no plans to file a petition of its own. Clinton's campaign lawyer Marc Elias said Saturday the Clinton campaign believed they "have an obligation to the more than 64 million Americans who cast ballots for Hillary Clinton to participate in ongoing proceedings to ensure than an accurate vote count will be reported." Elias was careful to stress the campaign did not feel investigations into alleged abnormalities and irregularities had "resulted in evidence of manipulation of results."
Along with hand counting the 2,975,313 votes cast across the state in the general election, the recount effort will also see county boards of canvassers scrutinizing poll lists, provisional ballots, absentee ballot applications, and any rejected absentee ballots. A tough task considering the recount will need to be completed before a Dec. 13 federal deadline. Hass said the tight deadline might require that canvassers work evenings and weekends.
"The recount process is very detail-oriented, and this deadline will certainly challenge some counties to finish on time," Haas said.