MADISON, WIS. - - With a tight deadline looming, the staff of the Wisconsin Elections Commission is advising their agency's leaders to reject a request by Green Party candidate Jill Stein to do a painstaking hand recount of the state's presidential election won by Republican Donald Trump.
Stein is seeking to pay for the recount of the election — in which she received 31,000 votes from liberal citizens — to ensure that Democrat Hillary Clinton really lost Wisconsin to Trump by 22,000.
As part of an Elections Commission's meeting Monday, staff will request that their agency's commissioners approve a timeline that will start the recount in all 72 counties on Thursday.
Under federal law, any disputes over the 2.98 million votes cast in the presidential election must be resolved within 35 days of election day, which is Dec. 13.
In a memorandum issued with Monday's meeting notice, Wisconsin Elections Commission Interim Administrator Michael Haas and Elections Supervisor Ross Hein outlined a tight schedule to meet the Dec. 13 deadline.
"It will be a significant challenge to complete a statewide recount of nearly 3 million votes in less than two weeks. County canvass boards and (Wisconsin Elections Commission) staff will need to put in a substantial amount of extended hours throughout the next few weeks," according to the memorandum.
If approved at a 9:30 a.m. meeting Monday at the elections commission in Madison, here's how the recount will be conducted:
- Monday, cost estimates and vote tabulation method will be provided by county clerks to the commission by noon. Commission officials will provide estimated statewide costs to the campaigns of both Green Party nominee Jill Stein and independent candidate Roque "Rocky" De La Fuente by the end of the day.
- Tuesday, the Stein and De La Fuente campaigns must pay for the recount. Once full payment is received by either campaign, the commission will issue a recount order to all presidential candidates.
- Wednesday, Elections Commission staff will hold a teleconference in the morning for all county clerks and canvass members to outline the process and rules of a recount. Since a 24-hour public meeting notice is required for the recount, each county must post its notice by Wednesday.
- Thursday, recount begins in every Wisconsin county.
- Dec. 13, all county canvass boards must be completed by noon. Elections Commission staff will prepare the official recount canvass certification by 3 p.m.
Stein and De La Fuente separately filed recount requests late Friday, the last day they were able to do so. Stein received about 31,000 votes and De La Fuente about 1,500 out of 3 million cast in Wisconsin. The cost for Wisconsin's recount could top $1 million which either Stein or De La Fuente, or both, must pay.
The campaign of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton announced Saturday that it would take part in the recount process "to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides," campaign general counsel Marc Erik Elias said. Donald Trump and his advisers strongly criticized the recount and the Clinton campaign's involvement.
In a statement to the New York Times on Friday, President Barack Obama's administration said it believes the election results "accurately reflect the will of the people."
Trump edged out Clinton by 22,000 votes in Wisconsin, where no Republican had won the state since 1984.
Stein has said she also intends to pursue recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania, two other states carried by Trump.