A state lawmaker believes the time given to request election recounts in Wisconsin should be shortened. State Representative David Craig suspects Green Party candidate Jill Green waited until the 11th hour to request a recount of Wisconsin’s presidential election results to disrupt the process of Donald Trump’s victory being made official by the Electoral College.
Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke has said he would consider legislation next year that would allow candidates to force recounts only if they lost by a small margin. Stein garnered just more than one percent of the vote in the November 8 election but raised money to pay for a recount, claiming it was an effort to ensure the integrity of the election.
Craig told me in a telephone interview Tuesday that he believes the first policy change to be considered should be to shorten the deadline by which a campaign must make a recount request.
“With this request at the 11th hour, we’re trying to do too much in too little time. It’s going to create hardships for the clerks, their families and their deputies. You’re not going to get their best work when they’re hurrying along the process that involves one of the most important elections in American history.”
Craig is also concerned that taxpayers will ultimately foot some of the cost of the recount. The Wisconsin Elections Commission initially told Stein the cost would be $1.1 million. Monday that grew to $3.5 million and Tuesday it grew another $400,000, to $3.9 million. Craig fears we may still not know what the exact cost is; that it might rise again and that at some point taxpayers will be called upon to make up the difference for the cost of a recount that has virtually no chance of changing the outcome of the election.
In other recount news, a Dane County Judge Tuesday rejected Stein’s request to order a hand count, a process that likely would have taken much longer and could have meant the state would have missed a December 13th Electoral College deadline. Hillary Clinton joined in the suit calling for the hand recount, which drew a sharp rebuke from Pat Garrett, Communications Director for the Republican Party of Wisconsin:
“Hillary Clinton will say or do anything to hold onto power, and now she’s doing everything possible to help steal the election in Wisconsin. This behavior is nothing new; throughout this campaign she put politics above everything else and that is exactly why she lost.”
Republicans have accused Clinton and other Democrats of hypocrisy after harshly criticizing Trump in the latter stages of the campaign for failing to say he would accept the results of the election if he lost. Critics say it is now Clinton and the Left that refuse to accept an obvious defeat.
Stein has been accused of using the recount as a fundraising opportunity to pad her campaign account. She has called the fee the state is now asking for “exorbitant” and “unconscionable.” Craig says Stein’s expectations for the cost were “totally ridiculous.” Stein did make the $3.5 million payment before Tuesday’s deadline, which will allow the recount process to begin Thursday.