FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 30, 2017
Contact: Representative Ron Tusler (608) 266-5831
Recount Reform Bill Signed Into Law
Bill Prevents Frivolous Recounts, Ensures Counties and State Get Reimbursed
Madison, WI – Today, Governor Walker signed Assembly Bill 153 into law as Act 120. Representative Ron Tusler (R-Harrison) and Senator Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) proposed the bill earlier this session in response to last year’s presidential recount in Wisconsin. Jill Stein, Green Party 2016 presidential candidate, requested a recount after trailing the state’s leading candidate by 46%, or more than 1.3 million votes.
“One year ago, Wisconsin voters waited in suspense. They did not know whether they would be disenfranchised pending the completion of the statewide recount before time expired for our electoral votes to be counted,” Rep. Tusler said. “This bill will ensure that frivolous attempts to slow the democratic process are stopped, that county clerks have the time needed to thoroughly conduct legitimate recounts and make sure that counties and the state are fully reimbursed for recount expenses.”
The bill defines candidates who may request a recount as a candidate who trails the leading candidate by 1% or less of total votes cast, or in an election with fewer than 4,000 votes, 40 votes or less. The largest margin in a statewide recount in Wisconsin where the result changed was .12%. Seven other states (Delaware, Massachusetts, Montana, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Utah and Virginia) limit recounts to candidates within 1% or less of the leading candidate. Under the new law, 2016 Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton would have been eligible to request a recount, but Jill Stein would not.
Other reforms in the law include shortening the deadline by two days to request a recount in a presidential election to ensure that Wisconsin’s electoral votes are cast in time to be counted. County clerks will also have 15 extra days to tabulate costs associated with a recount and submit them for reimbursement. The law also closes a loophole that prevented the Wisconsin Election Commission from getting reimbursed for recount-related costs. Brown County was not reimbursed for approximately $3,400 and the Wisconsin Elections Commission was not reimbursed for more than $23,000.
“Looking back, we can see that this recount was pointless. Jill Stein’s demand required a frivolous recount because she trailed by more than 1.3 million. Her recount did little to ensure confidence in the system and instead made a mockery of the system,” said Rep. Tusler. “I would like to thank all of our county clerks and the Election Commission for all of their hard work last year conducting the recount and applaud their continued dedication to providing accurate electoral results, election after election.”