FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 15, 2017
Contact: Representative Ron Tusler (608) 266-5831
Rep. Tusler Proposes Recount Reform Legislation
Legislation Defines Candidates Who Can Request Recounts,
Gives County Clerks More Flexibility
Madison, WI – State Representative Ron Tusler (R-Harrison) and Senator Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) are seeking support for a bill that would limit the types of candidates who can request a recount and provide more flexibility for county clerks to report recount-related costs for reimbursement.
“These are common sense reforms that won’t waste taxpayer time and money, and will prevent frivolous recounts that have no chance of overturning an election result,” said Rep. Tusler.
The bill allows candidates, who trail the leading candidate by no more than 1%, to request a recount. “By narrowing the eligible candidates who can request a recount, we provide stability and certainty to our elections so that someone who trails the leading candidate by a massive margin can’t slow down the democratic process,” said Rep. Tusler. According to State Ethics and Elections Commissions data, the largest difference in which the outcome of an election was changed in Wisconsin was .12%.
The proposed legislation also extends the deadline to 45 days for county clerks to submit recount costs. The deadline for a candidate to file a recount petition would also be changed to one day following the last meeting of the last board of canvassers. This change would ensure that Wisconsin’s Electoral College Votes are counted in Presidential Elections. The Wisconsin Elections Commission would also be able to seek reimbursement for any costs incurred by a recount.
Wisconsin’s current law exempting the payment of recount costs by candidates who trail by .25% or less remains intact.
Seven other states, Delaware, Massachusetts, Montana, Rhode Island, Utah, and Virginia have laws that prevent candidates who lose by 1% or more from requesting a recount. Utah’s recount margin is the lowest in the country at .25%.