It's official: An vote recount for the presidential election will occur in the state of Wisconsin, according to a statement by the Wisconsin Elections Commission on Friday. It came after Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and another individual, Rocky Roque De La Fuente, met the state's filing deadline. The announcement begs the question — how will the Wisconsin election recount work? Clearly, there will be a detailed and expensive process for the state and its localities.
According to Michael Haas, the Wisconsin Elections Commission administrator, the recount could begin this week. "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," he said in a statement on Friday.
Since Monday, Stein and her campaign have raised more than $6 million to fund election recounts in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. As of Sunday, the campaign had filed for a recount only in Wisconsin, but Stein's online donation page made it clear that she planned to meet Pennsylvania's Monday deadline and hoped to meet Michigan's Wednesday deadline. The campaign expects the total cost of all three recounts to potentially reach $7 million.
According to Wisconsin's recount rules, the recount will be conducted by a board of canvassers, typically the same board that counted the initial results, and is overseen by the elections commission. The commission determines which ballots need to be recounted and which do not. Generally speaking, the recount process in Wisconsin involves reviewing poll lists, absentee ballots, ballot bags and containers, provisional ballots — and, of course, counting the votes. The count can be done by hand or by electronic device.
No matter how Wisconsin runs its recount, it will have to happen quickly. The state faces a federal deadline of Dec. 13, which could give the state board of canvassers just a couple of weeks to count some 2.9 million votes. If Wisconsin does not meet the Dec. 13 deadline, its electoral votes may not count in the federal government's final vote tally. The same goes for any other state where a recount could soon happen, such as Stein's targets of Pennsylvania and Michigan.
For Wisconsin's part, administrator Haas and the elections commission noted the time crunch in the Friday statement. "The recount process is very detail-oriented, and this deadline will certainly challenge some counties to finish on time," Haas said, while the commission speculated that canvassers would need to work nights and weekends to meet the deadline.
If Wisconsin doesn't meet the deadline, President-elect Donald Trump could lose the 10 electoral votes he picked up in the state. All candidates are allowed to observe the recount process and view recount materials. Want a closer look for yourself? According to the state's rules, anyone can attend the recount.