The Trump campaign will request a recount in Wisconsin, Campaign Manager Bill Stepien announced on Wednesday.
Out of the gate, Stepien took time in his statement to sow doubt and confusion about the accuracy of the results in the state, where, according to the AP, Joe Biden is projected to win by a margin of slightly more than 20,000 votes.
Stepien baselessly cited vague “reports of irregularities” in the state, and referred to “ridiculous public polling” as a “voter suppression tactic” in making the request.
Wisconsin state law allows candidates who trail by a margin of one percent of the total to request a recount, which must be completed within 13 days of the state ordering the tally.
The state will only cover the costs of a recount if the margin falls within less than .25 percent. As of this writing, the AP has a margin of .62 between the two candidates.
The New York Times estimated that a recount would cost the Trump campaign $3 million.
State law also allows Wisconsin election officials to choose the method of the recount, be it a hand count or via an electronic tabulator. The Trump campaign is allowed to ask for a hand recount, so long as it meets a burden of proof for why one is necessary.
Stepien’s statement appears to contest the legitimacy of the vote itself, in much the same way that President Trump preemptively declared himself the winner of the election on Tuesday night and ordered the democratic process to be stopped to allow that victory.
Former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) noted on Twitter that 20,000 votes is a “high hurdle” to clear in a state where recounts rarely find huge discrepancies.
After recount in 2011 race for WI Supreme Court, there was a swing of 300 votes. After recount in 2016 Presidential race in WI, @realDonaldTrump numbers went up by 131.
— Scott Walker (@ScottWalker) November 4, 2020
Stepien made the announcement within minutes of Wisconsin Elections Commissioner Meagan Wolfe announcing that the state had finished counting, with Biden ahead.
“Looking at the county websites, every single jurisdiction has submitted unofficial results except one tiny township of less than 300 voters,” she said on a press call.
Wisconsin last performed a recount in 2016, the only statewide recount that the state has conducted in a presidential election since 2000.
When asked about the potential of a Trump recount petition, Wolfe said that a previous recount had shown that “we have a really good process, we have a really good system.”
“There’s an incredible paper trail for every single request, registration, and ballot that is cast,” she added.
Kate Riga and Tierney Sneed contributed to this report.