Even as sixty out of the seventy-two counties in Wisconsin are now voluntarily conducting hand recounts of the votes in the 2016 presidential election, the other twelve counties are opting to perform a much simpler and less effective machine recount. Chief among them is Milwaukee County, the largest in the state, which is refusing to do a hand recount without providing a reason. At the same time, Milwaukee is massively overcharging for its half hearted recount.
In fact, Milwaukee County is charging more money for the recount than any of the sixty counties that are doing hand recounts. According to Wisconsin’s own official state election website, Milwaukee is charging Jill Stein a total of $536,734.14 to a simple machine recount. That’s an absurd number in comparison to the rest of the state. Milwaukee could try to make the argument that it’s the largest county and therefore has the largest number of ballots to recount. But Milwaukee County’s population is only twice that of the next largest county, Dane County, which is doing a much more labor intensive hand recount for far less money.
The exorbitant price being charged by Milwaukee County has been part of a seeming statewide effort to make the recount as expensive as possible for Jill Stein. Wisconsin initially told her the filing fee would be just $1.1 million statewide, but once underway, that total jumped to $3.8 million without explanation. That’s forced Stein to use more than half the money she fundraised just to cover the filing fee in the one state alone. Considering that she had raised the $7 million to cover the filing fees in three states plus what are expertly to be millions in legal fees, this appears to be an attempt at bankrupting Stein before she finish the recount job. This comes even as recount observers have discovered discrepancies with Milwaukee ballots that were not properly counted. Meanwhile, Stein has adopted a strategy to force Pennsylvania to pay for its own recount.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report