Wisconsin Presidential Recount Expected To Come In Vastly Under Budget

Recount Was Projected To Cost $3.8M, Totals Are Hovering Around $1.8M

Woman looking over recount votes
Morry Gash/AP Photo

The final cost of Wisconsin’s presidential recount will likely be about half of what was estimated.

Seventy-one of the state’s 72 counties have reported their final recount costs to the state Elections Commission. The total is about $1.8 million. Last month, estimates from counties projected the cost of the recount to be about $3.8 million.

Reid Magney, spokesman for the Elections Commission, said the overestimates were likely due to counties being “cautious” about the expense.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

“I think they probably, not knowing exactly what it would cost, wanted to make sure that their costs would be covered,” Magney said.

County expenses for the recount included paying people to re-tally ballots, renting additional office space for operations and purchasing necessary office supplies and other equipment.

Only 13 counties came in over budget. The largest overage was from Sheboygan County, which estimated its recount would cost $36,186. The final cost was $40,051.

The largest savings was in Milwaukee County, which estimated its expense would be $536,734 and ultimately used $271,454.

Dane County came in about $140,000 under its projected budget.

Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell attributed the savings to lower salaries, room rental fees and general operating expenses. He said some people volunteered to re-tally votes without pay and noted Dane County completed its recount two days ahead of schedule.

“Losing those two days was a sizable savings as well,” McDonell said.

Brown County is the only county that hadn’t reported its final cost by Wednesday afternoon. The elections commission expects its total to come in sometime next week.

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s campaign financed the recount. Magney said Stein’s campaign will be refunded any savings after numbers are finalized. Stein said Tuesday the refund would be spent on ongoing election integrity efforts.