As Hillary Clinton's popular vote lead over U.S. Presidential election winner Donald Trump has climbed to over 2 million, third-party candidate Jill Stein has led an effort to petition several key swing states to officially recount their presidential votes from election day in November. Wisconsin has planned to go forward with a recount of its 2.9 million votes. Stein has raised millions of dollars in funds to sponsor the recount petition effort, but it is unclear exactly how that money will be used. Exactly how much does it cost to recount votes for a presidential election?

Dependent on Counties

One of the major factors determining how much a recount will cost is the number of ballots. The issue comes down to county clerks, each of whom is responsible for making an estimate of how much a recount effort for his or her county will cost. While these figures have not yet been made available, it is possible to make an estimate of how much it will cost based on the last time the state of Wisconsin issued a recount. This occurred in 2011 and was called over a close election total for a seat on the state Supreme Court. For that particular recount, the Associated Press estimated the total cost would be $520,000. However, there were half as many ballots, roughly, for that election as there were for the 2016 presidential election, so one might estimate that the cost would be over $1 million for a Wisconsin recount in this case.

Other Factors

However, it's also possible that $1 million might not be enough to force a recount. In 2011, not all counties were represented in the estimate, so it's likely that the total cost of the recount in that case was more than $520,000.

Stein managed to raise over $3 million in about a day, likely from a combination of grassroots organizing and support from major donors. Stein originally estimated the cost of filing fees for the state of Wisconsin to be $1.1 million, while Pennsylvania and Michigan were slightly less.

What could contribute to the cost of these recounts? The number of workers responsible for sorting and processing the ballots in the recount procedure and the number of hours they will work on the recount, for one. There are also attorney fees, commission fees, and more. While it is unlikely that any recount effort will change the results of the presidential election away from Trump, it may provide some Americans with peace of mind regarding the ongoing debate over voter fraud and the widespread speculation that the presidential election may have in some way been hacked or influenced by outside parties, with Russia being at the top of many lists.

Want to learn how to invest?

Get a free 10 week email series that will teach you how to start investing.

Delivered twice a week, straight to your inbox.