Recount officially ordered for two Wisconsin counties: Here’s what that means


MADISON, Wis. (WFRV) – A partial recount of presidential election results in Wisconsin has officially been ordered.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission, after a meeting of the six-member, bipartisan commission late Wednesday, unanimously approved the recount order for results in Dane and Milwaukee counties after receiving a recount petition and $3 million payment from the Trump campaign.

Under the order, seen below, Dane and Milwaukee counties’ board of canvassers are required to convene by 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 21, and complete their work by noon on Tuesday, Dec. 1.

The board of canvassers can start their work as early as today, according to the Wisconsin Elections Commission.


Each board of canvassers will issue their own public notice for starting and meeting times, and must include 24 hours public notice.

At its meeting Wednesday, the WEC also unanimously approved changes to its Recount Manual designed to ensure representatives of both presidential campaigns have access to ballots and other materials during the recount.  “… it is clear that the ballots and materials must be available for candidates and their representatives to view and offer any objections to a ballot being counted,” the revised manual states.

The WEC also unanimously approved a three-page memorandum from staff containing Public Health Guidance for Recount Proceedings.

Proposed revisions to the manual about when a county’s Board of Canvassers should examine requests for absentee ballots during a recount were not approved following a series of 3-3 votes.  The commission requires four votes to approve a motion.

The WEC unanimously approved guidance for 190 municipalities that will be conducting voting equipment audits before the certification deadline of Dec. 1. For more information about voting equipment audits, click here.

“We understand the eyes of the world will be on these Wisconsin counties over the next few weeks,” says Meagan Wolfe, administrator of the WEC and Wisconsin’s chief election official. “We remain committed to providing information about the process and assisting our county clerks by providing facts on the mechanics of a recount and status updates.” 

Here is the timeline for a recount:

Thursday, November 19, 2020 – The Commission Chair issues the Recount Order.  This starts the 13-day recount clock and is also the first day that recount boards can meet.

Saturday, November 21, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. – The deadline by which county boards of canvassers must convene for the recount (no later than 9:00 a.m. on the third day after the recount order is issued).

Tuesday, December 1, 2020 – The deadline to complete the recount.  This is also the deadline, under Wisconsin law, for WEC to certify results from the General Election.  Therefore, recounts must be completed and results must be filed with WEC by noon on December 1, 2020. 

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