Wisconsin clerks prepare for potential recount; Trump campaign says it's 'leaving all legal options open'
MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- President Donald Trump's campaign has until 5 p.m. Wednesday to request a statewide recount in Wisconsin. The last of Wisconsin's 72 counties finished canvassing on Tuesday, Nov. 17.
President-elect Joe Biden widened his lead by 62 votes in Wisconsin.
The Trump campaign would not say one way or another Tuesday whether it plans to request a recount.
"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," said Jenna Ellis, Trump 2020 legal advisor.
In the meantime, clerks across the state are preparing just in case that it happens.
The Trump campaign would have to pay for the recount upfront.
The statewide estimate for the recount is $7.9 million. That's almost four times what Jill Stein paid for the 2016 recount four years ago.
Milwaukee County Clerk George Christenson explained the main difference from 2016 to the potential 2020 recount: "COVID-19. The pandemic. We're operating in a whole new environment right now, which really has driven the cost up substantially."
Milwaukee County's portion would be more than $2 million. It's made up of costs associated with staff, security, equipment, travel and personal protective equipment, or PPE. The biggest cost is nearly $650,000 to rent the Wisconsin Center, which is where Milwaukee County elections officials would conduct the recount.
"We looked at several spaces ranging from 60,000 square feet up to this (the Wisconsin Center), and we just felt for the public's safety, we wanted to go with the largest space we could get," Christenson said.
The space would have room for 350 workers at a time and hundreds of observers.
Milwaukee County would begin the recount Friday and work through the weekends, working every day except Thanksgiving. Counties would have to finish by Dec. 1.
Christenson said he's seen no evidence of irregularities and the county is committed to transparency. If a recount is requested, Milwaukee County would spend around $400,000 on audio-visual equipment to live stream the recount.
"We feel we've got enough space so everybody can watch the democratic process," Christenson said.