Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Recount Will Cost Wisconsin Over A Million, Will It Change The Results?

In Wisconsin, if the margin between two Supreme Court candidates is less than 0.5%, the state won't charge for a recount. This is the margin of votes we're looking at. However, the recount will likely cost the state well over $1 million, with most of the costs left to the counties to pay, according to the Government Accountability Board. Even if the margin is larger, the state only charges $5 per ward for a total of $34,850, given the estimate from the state of 6,900 to 6,970 wards.

There's good reasons for not charging a candidate for a recount, or charging them very little. If a candidate truly believes that a recount will change the result of an election, they shouldn't be expected to fully finance the recount. Otherwise, only wealthy candidates would be able to run for office, or a large portion of donations would need to go into a fund set aside for a chance of recount with less for actual campaigning. This is not the political environment we want.

However, recounts rarely change the result of an election. So, given the great costs to the state and local governments, a candidate should have reason to believe the recount will change the result before requesting an official recount. The simple fact that an election is close is not itself reason to believe the recount will change the result. The question needs to be asked, why do you believe the recount will change the results?

Updated: (4/9/2011 1:01am) Revised recount cost estimate for candidates from $18,150, which used the number of precincts given by the AP as the number of wards in the state, to $34,850 based on the actual estimate of the number of wards by the state provided by CapTimes.

Update: (April, 21 4:06pm) Since this keeps getting asked, Kloppenburg was right to request a recount. Wisconsin needs it.

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