MADISON, WI. (WBAY) – The Wisconsin Elections Commission says a recount in the presidential election will cost just shy of $3.5 million. That’s about half of what Jill Stein’s Green Party has raised for recounts in three states, and three times what the campaign had earlier estimated.

Stein and Reform Party candidate Rocky De La Fuente filed for the recount on Friday. They’ll have to pay the money upfront by 4:30 p.m. Tuesday or there will be no recount.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission met Monday and approved a timeline for the recount leading up to the federal deadline on December 13, but it rejected Stein’s request to do the counting by hand. State law allows county clerks to decide whether to count by hand or use machines (see details below).

Monday afternoon, Stein filed a lawsuit in Dane County seeking a court order to do the recount exclusively by hand, rather than using tabulating equipment, to show whether there was any electronic interference in the final results.

Many counties provided estimates for a hand count, which increases the cost. The Elections Commission says county clerks will have to hire thousands of temporary workers and work extra hours and weekends to complete the recount before the federal deadline. Brown County, for instance, estimated a recount will cost $190,337, but that cost will go up to $273,978 if it’s done entirely by hand. Outagamie County says its cost would go up from $144,240 to $208,588.

Stein only earned about 1% of the vote in Wisconsin and has no chance of winning in a recount but expressed concern about what she calls “statistical anomalies” in the results in districts that relied on electronic voting.

Stein is seeking recounts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. President-elect Donald Trump narrowly won Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and has a small lead in Michigan. There’s no evidence electronic voting machines were compromised. Trump complicated the matter this weekend in a Twitter tirade making unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud in three other states – California, New Hampshire and Virginia – to explain why Clinton beat him in the popular vote.

The Clinton campaign has said it will join the Green Party in the Wisconsin recount even though its own investigation for abnormalities found nothing that would change the outcome.

Wisconsin Elections Commission Chair Mark Thomsen echoed that, saying he believes after the recount the results will be the same.

“To say that it’s not being fair or people are counting illegal votes from my vantage point is an insult to the people that run our elections – the 1,854 municipal clerks and 72 county clerks – that deserve better treatment,” Thomsen said.

The campaigns that petitioned for the recount are required to cover the costs. If costs exceed what was originally estimated on Monday, the campaigns will be billed for the extra amount; if costs end up being less, the balance will be refunded.


  • Friday, November 25: Both petitions received
  • Monday, November 28: Cost estimates and vote tabulation method provided by county clerk to WEC by noon. WEC provides estimated statewide costs to both the Jill Stein and Rocky De La Fuente campaigns by close of business. 
  • Tuesday, November 29: Stein and/or De La Fuente campaign submits payment to WEC. Once full payment is received by either campaign, the WEC will issue a recount order to all presidential candidates.
  • Wednesday, November 30: WEC staff will hold a teleconference for all county clerks and canvass members to go over the recount rules and processes. The teleconference is tentatively scheduled for 10 a.m. and will be held via webinar. Invitation instructions will be sent out next week to all county clerks. A 24-hour public meeting notice is required for the recount and therefore each county should post its notice by this date.
  • Thursday, December 1: Recount begins in all Wisconsin Counties. A 24-hour public meeting notice is required.
  • Tuesday, December 13: Recounts must be completed under federal law. County canvass boards need to be completed by noon. WEC staff will prepare the official recount canvass certification by 3pm

___The Associated Press contributed to this report.