Wisconsin’s legislature is preparing to vote on a pair of bills that would enact stricter standards for election recounts. The impetus for this legislation was Green Party nominee Jill Stein’s successful recount petition after her distant finish in last year’s presidential election. “The situation that we had last fall, with somebody who finished way back in the pack requesting a recount was, I believe, the first time anything like that has ever happened,” Wisconsin Elections Commission spokesman Reid Magney told WhoWhatWhy. Under Assembly Bill 153 and Senate Bill 102, candidates cannot request recounts unless they finish within one percent of the winner. The proposal would also reduce the time available for candidates to petition for recounts.
“When our original bill was drafted in the past, it didn’t conceive of the potential situation that a candidate would seek a recount even if they had no chance of winning based on the recount,” Representative Ron Tusler (R), one of the Assembly bill’s authors, told WhoWhatWhy. “We decided that we wanted to fix the problem.”
Tusler didn’t pull punches in his assessment of the the Stein recount, calling it “an embarrassment to the state of Wisconsin” that cost the state time and money, despite the fact that Stein’s campaign reimbursed the state for these expenses.