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Elections commission to use atomic clock to determine recount filing deadline

meagan wolfe
Meagan Wolfe, administrator, Wisconsin Elections Commission

MADISON (WKOW) -- With the possibility of a recount of the state's presidential vote, the Wisconsin Elections Commission is hoping to avoid at least one major controversy from earlier in the election season.

That's why they have an atomic clock in the office to keep track of the filing deadline, according to a recent memo from the commission.

Should President Trump's campaign file for a recount, they have until 5 p.m. Wednesday to do so, according to state statutes.

That simple deadline caused controversy earlier this year when representatives for rapper Kanye West submitted papers to include him on the presidential ballot seconds after the 5 p.m. deadline.

At the time, his attorneys argued that the 5 p.m.. deadline extended until 5:00:59. A judge eventually ruled against the campaign.

So, in a memo Nov. 12, the state Elections Commission spelled out exactly how they'll calculate the deadline:

The Commission maintains an official atomic clock located in the Commission’s office, which is automatically set to official Central Standard, U.S. time maintained by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Both the verified recount petition and any estimated fee must be received by the Commission no later than 5:00 p.m. as displayed on the official clock.

The memo further clarifies that both the request and fee must be paid by that time.

A recount petition or prepayment of the estimated fee received after 5:00 p.m. on the deadline will be considered late. A recount petition received prior to 5:00 p.m. and prepayment of the estimated fee received after 5:00 p.m. will be considered late. A recount petition received after 5:00 p.m. and prepayment of the estimated fee received prior to 5:00 p.m. will be considered late.

By Tuesday morning, all counties had submitted canvassed vote totals to the state elections commission, starting the clock for President Donald Trump to file for a recount.

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