Election officials in Wisconsin confirmed on Wednesday that they received a partial payment of $ 3 million from the Trump campaign. These officials said last week that the price for a statewide recount would be about $ 7.9 million.
“The Wisconsin Election Commission received a bank transfer from the Trump campaign for $ 3 million,” the election commission said. “No petition has yet been received, but the Trump campaign has informed House staff that it will be lifted today.”
The Trump campaign is restricting recount requests in Wisconsin to Milwaukee County and Dan County, according to a press release from the campaign. The money the Trump campaign has paid out will be sufficient to drive recounts in these counties, Democratic strongholds.
Milwaukee County contains Milwaukee, the largest city in the state and home to the largest black population in Wisconsin. Biden beat Trump with 317,251 votes to 134,355 in that county, according to unofficial results released by the Wisconsin Election Commission.
Dane County includes the state capital, Madison, and is home to many college-age voters at the University of Wisconsin. Biden won that county with 260,157 votes to 78,789, according to the unofficial results of the Wisconsin Election Commission.
Counties undergoing recount will have 13 days to recount all their votes, starting Thursday, according to procedures announced by the Wisconsin Election Commission. Final results must be approved by the committee by December 1.
Dane County Clerk Scott McDonnell said his county will begin counting votes on Friday and the recount will likely take most of the permitted 13-day period.
“We have been planning this for several days,” McDonnell told reporters on Wednesday. He said it was unlikely that a recount in his district would lead to large swings in votes, “certainly nothing close to what is needed to alter the results.”
The recount will be at least partially carried out using ballot-scanning machines. McDonnell said survey workers would be socially distanced and the space would be outfitted with plexiglass and police security. Observers from the Trump and Biden campaigns will be able to view the proceedings and contest the ballot papers, as the count will be broadcast live online.
“This was a really clean election from our point of view,” he said.
Experts said it was extremely unlikely that the recounts would convert enough votes to reverse Biden’s lead of 20,470 votes. (In 2016, the recount requested by Green Party candidate Gilles Stein ended with Trump’s margin increase by just 131 votes.)
Former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican and Trump ally, said earlier that Trump faces slim odds of winning the recount, describing Biden’s margin as a “huge hurdle” that must be overcome
CNN’s Caroline Kenny contributed to this report.