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Wisconsin recount would cost Trump campaign nearly $8M

Wisconsin election officials estimate it would cost the Trump campaign $7.9 million to request a statewide recount, a figure the campaign would need to pay upfront when filing the request.

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The Trump campaign is facing a Wednesday deadline to request a recount in Wisconsin as county canvasses wrap-up with little change to Joe Biden’s roughly 20,000 vote lead.

Wisconsin election officials estimated Monday it would cost the Trump campaign $7.9 million to request a statewide recount, a figure the campaign would need to pay upfront when filing the request.

“I think it’s a put up or shut up moment for the Trump campaign and Republican National Committee,” Rick Klein said, ABC News political director. “To me this is the first major moment where they’re going to have to write a check that suggests how serious they are.”

State election officials said Monday they hadn't received any indication which way the Trump campaign will go.

“The legal team continues to examine the issues with irregularities in Wisconsin and are leaving all legal options open, including a recount and an audit,” Jenna Ellis, a Trump campaign legal advisor, said in a statement to WISN 12 News.

The only action the campaign can request is a recount.

A voting equipment audit is being performed according to state law, an election commission official said Monday.

If a recount is requested by the 5 p.m. Wednesday deadline, county clerks would have to begin the process by Saturday and complete it by Dec. 1.

The cost for the recount is nearly four times the 2016 recount requested by Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

Election officials said the pandemic and security are major factors in the skyrocketing costs, noting the large facilities counties would need to rent to follow social distance guidelines.

Milwaukee County officials said Monday they would use The Wisconsin Center.

“My hope is if a recount takes place, it is for good and legitimate reasons,” Ann Jacobs said, chair of the Wisconsin Election Commission. “And not just as a performance of the ability to do so.”