MADISON – Democrat Joe Biden slightly widened his small victory margin in Wisconsin, according to the final presidential vote tallies counties submitted to the state on Tuesday.
The canvasses of the votes by Wisconsin’s 72 counties showed Biden won Wisconsin by 20,608 votes. That’s an improvement of 181 votes for Biden compared to the unofficial results in the Nov. 3 election.
The completion of the canvasses gave President Donald Trump a little over 24 hours to decide whether to commence a statewide recount, which he has promised to pursue.
His campaign will have to pay the state $7.9 million to cover the cost of a recount before it can begin.
Trump could also pursue a more limited — and less expensive — recount that focuses only on certain counties.
Full coverage:Wisconsin election section
But overturning the result through a recount is exceedingly unlikely. A recount of the presidential votes in 2016 resulted in a net change of 131 votes, preserving Trump’s win of fewer than 23,000 votes that year.
Trump would need to win Wisconsin and reverse the results in other states as well to secure a second term. Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes aren’t enough on their own to change the overall outcome because Biden won 306 electoral votes and Trump won 232.
A recount is ongoing in Georgia, which Biden won by a sliver of votes. Election officials there do not expect the results to change much.
If Trump pays for the Wisconsin recount, counties will begin retabulating results as soon as Thursday. Their new tallies will be due by Dec. 1, when the state Elections Commission plans to certify the results.
Biden’s margin was increased by 181 votes after the counties added another 170 to his total and subtracted 11 from Trump’s.
Three counties reported a swing of 100 votes or more for one candidate. Grant County added 161 votes for Trump, Price County subtracted 100 votes for Biden and Shawano County subtracted 274 votes for Trump.
Both candidates padded their vote totals in the Milwaukee metropolitan area, but Biden added more to his total than Trump did.
In Milwaukee County, Biden gained 19 votes and Trump gained 2 votes. In Waukesha County, Biden gained 39 votes and Trump gained 16 votes. In Washington County, Biden gained three votes and Trump gained two votes. And in Ozaukee County, Biden gained two votes and Trump’s total remained unchanged.
Contact Patrick Marley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @patrickdmarley.