Elections are often decided by a few votes. In many cases they are decided by one or two votes out of the several hundred or even several thousand votes that are cast. An election may even end in a tie vote. These circumstances encourage a candidate, typically the one who loses the election, to have all the ballots counted again to assure all legal votes are counted properly, any illegal votes are not counted, and the proper procedures for conducting the election were followed by the election officials.
The process of counting the ballots again is known as a recount. There is no automatic recount. The procedures for requesting and conducting a recount are spelled out in the election laws. A recount is the exclusive remedy to test in court the right of a candidate to hold office based on the number of votes cast at an election.
This information is prepared by the Wisconsin Elections Commission pursuant to the requirements of Wis. Stat. §9.01(10).
This manual explains the statutory requirements for requesting a recount, attempts to explain ambiguity in those statutes, expands on the statutory requirements with recommended procedures for conducting a recount, and contains sample forms for use during the recount.
2020 Presidential Recount
The Wisconsin Elections Commission ordered a partial recount of presidential election results in Dane and Milwaukee counties after receiving a recount petition and $3 million payment from the Trump campaign. The recount order required Dane and Milwaukee counties boards of canvassers (BOCs) to convene by 9 a.m. Saturday, November 21, and complete their work by noon on Tuesday, December 1.