Wisconsin’s GOP-led budget committee on Friday approved the reimbursement of roughly $2.4 million to Dane and Milwaukee counties for the costs of recounts called for by President Donald Trump.
In a joint statement, Joint Committee on Finance co-chairmen Rep. Mark Born, R-Beaver Dam, and Sen. Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green, said an objection filed in mid-December had been lifted after both counties provided additional details about the costs of the recounts. The Wisconsin Elections Commission can now reimburse both counties with funds already provided to the state by Trump.
“Although the receipts from Dane and Milwaukee counties have raised concerns, we now have the information we need to approve their request,” Born said.
Trump requested and paid in advance for recounts in Wisconsin’s two largest counties following his loss by more than 20,000 votes to President-elect Joe Biden. The counties said the recounts cost a combined $2.4 million, less than the $3 million that was originally projected.
Marklein said “there are still concerns about the actual receipts for the recount,” but the Joint Committee on Finance decided to withdraw the objections.
“We continue to have concerns about the high hourly rate paid to workers, expensive rental costs when we have county-owned buildings sitting empty and inflated operational expenses,” Marklein said. “We plan to consider options for the future. This committee will protect the state’s checkbook.”
Under state law, losing candidates can request recounts but must pay the cost upfront if they lose by more than 0.25 of one percentage point.
Milwaukee County’s recount cost nearly $1.7 million, while Dane County’s cost more than $700,000. In the end, the recounts resulted in a slightly larger lead for Biden.