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Wisconsin county spent nearly $730K on presidential recount

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — One of two Wisconsin counties that conducted recounts of their presidential votes spent nearly $730,000 on the attempt.

Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell released numbers that show the recount cost $729,733. About a third of that — $243,000 — went to pay tabulators. Another $104,000 of it covered police protection.

The county, which includes the state capital, Madison, estimated the total cost would be $740,800.

President Donald Trump’s campaign paid $3 million in advance for recounts in Dane and Milwaukee counties, the state’s two most Democratic counties. Trump lost Wisconsin to Joe Biden by 0.6 points. Under state law, losing candidates can request recounts but must pay the cost upfront if they lose by more than 0.25 percentage points.

The recounts resulted in a slightly wider lead for Biden. The counties are required to calculate actual costs and are supposed to be reimbursed from Trump’s payment. If costs come in below estimates, excess funds are supposed to go back to Trump’s campaign.

Milwaukee County has yet to disclose its final costs. County Clerk George Christensen didn’t immediately respond to a Tuesday email.

The Legislature’s Republican-led finance committee has refused to release any money for the counties after its co-chairs, Sen. Alberta Darling and Rep. Mark Born, announced Dec. 11 that an unnamed committee member had objected to any transfer. Darling and Born said in a letter to Gov. Tony Evers’ administration that the committee would meet to discuss the reimbursement but didn’t say when.

Aides for Darling and Born didn’t immediately respond to messages Tuesday.

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