President Donald Trump’s campaign said Wednesday it would ask for a recount of the race in Wisconsin, saying it was “a razor-thin race” between him and Democratic nominee Joe Biden and citing reports of “irregularities in several Wisconsin counties which raise serious doubts about the validity of the results.”
“The President is well within the threshold to request a recount and we will immediately do so,” campaign manager Bill Stepien said.
An automatic recount is triggered in Arizona if the margin between candidates is less than or equal to 0.1% of the votes cast. On Wednesday morning, Biden led Trump 51% to 47.6% with about 84% of the estimated vote counted.
Neither candidates nor voters can directly request recounts in Arizona. Voters can, however, contest election results in state court if they suspect misconduct on the part of election boards or officials, if they claim illegal votes were cast or if they claim counting errors caused officials to declare the wrong candidate the winner.
When a challenge of this type is filed, the state attorney general (currently Mark Brnovich, a Republican) can move to intervene in the case.
In Georgia, candidates can request a recount when the margin is less than 1% of the total votes cast for the office.
“The request must be made within two business days following certification of the results,” according to the National Association of Secretaries of State.
The deadline for certifying results in Georgia is 14 days after the election, in this case Nov. 17.
Trump was leading in Georgia by roughly 80,000 votes out of the 4.75 million counted as of Wednesday afternoon, or roughly a 1.6 % margin. But only 95% of the estimated votes had been counted.
In 2016, Trump won Michigan by the smallest margin of any state — less than two-tenths of 1% of the vote or 10,704 votes — and a recount in 2020 could be more likely if the race stays close in Michigan.
Preliminary returns Wednesday had Biden leading 49.7% to 48.8% with roughly 96% of the estimated votes counted.
A recount is automatically triggered in Michigan when the election is determined by a difference of 2,000 votes or less. A candidate can also ask for a recount if they have a “reasonable chance of winning the election.”
Trump was leading Biden in Pennsylvania by 53.3% to 45.5% at midday Wednesday but only 84% of the votes had been counted and election officials were cautioning patience while the rest are tabulated.
An automatic recount in the state would only be triggered if the margin is 0.5% or less of the total votes cast. Voters in individual districts can petition for recounts if they sign affidavits alleging errors in the vote totals within five days after an election, according to Ballotpedia.
Recount rules require county election officials to use tabulators of a different type than that used in the election or to count paper ballots by hand.
The recount must begin by Nov. 18 and be finished by Nov. 24, according to the National Association of Secretaries of State.
Unofficial returns in Wisconsin showed Biden leading Trump by about 20,000 votes as of midday Wednesday. That’s a tiny share of the estimated 3.3 million votes that were cast.
If the race stays within 1 percentage point, the losing candidate can force a recount. If the margin is larger than that, there’s no chance for one. Before any decision could be made on a recount, the official results need to be finalized over the coming weeks.
Contributing: USA TODAY Network reporters Patrick Marley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Maria Polletta of the Arizona Republic and Dave Boucher and Clara Hendrickson of the Detroit Free Press.