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Legislator wants to introduce a bill to change recount law

APPLETON (WLUK) -- A state lawmaker wants to change the rules for requesting election recounts.

This comes in the wake of Green Party candidate Jill Stein's recount request following the presidential election. That recount cost about $3.5 million dollars.

Right now anyone can request an election recount in Wisconsin, but Republican State Representative Ron Tusler of Appleton wants to narrow the requirements.

"If the party, the aggrieved party, asking for a recount is within one percent of the winning candidate," Tusler told FOX 11, meaning under a bill he is circulating only a candidate within one percentage point of winning could request the recount. For an election under 4,000 votes, the candidate requesting the recount would need to be withing 40 votes of winning.

If the requesting candidate is within a quarter of a percentage point, the state would pay for the recount, otherwise the candidate would pay.

So under the bill Green Party candidate Jill Stein would not have been able to request the most recent presidential election recount.

Tusler told us a main reason is the cost the state accrued during the most recent presidential recount. The Green Party paid back individual counties, but not the state elections commission. It didn't have to under the current law. The bill would change that.

"Requires that all those parties get paid and it gives more time for the counties to figure out how much the recount really cost them," Tusler explained.

Some democratic lawmakers are concerned about the bill.

"The more restrictive you make the ability to ask for a recount the harder it is to make sure our process is checked fairly and that it's an open and fair process," said Democratic State Representative Amanda Stuck, also of Appleton.

Tusler told FOX 11 a statewide election has never been overturned where the discrepancy in votes was greater than a percentage point. He said his bill will avoid an unnecessary burden for state and county employees in the future.

"It allows the clerks to focus on their job. This was a stressful situation. It was also, you know, unfortunate that the United States was wondering whether there was an issue or not regarding our election," Tusler told us.

Democratic State Representative Amanda Stuck of Appleton told FOX 11 even though the outcome did not change with this recent recount it was still beneficial.

"It actually did help the clerks learn a little bit more about mistakes and things they were doing wrong or to find problems within their own systems," she told us.

According to Tusler, Governor Walker supports this bill.

We did reach out to Wisconsin's Green Party for comment on this story. The party did not respond.

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