Western Wisconsin voters ‘on edge’ as possible recount looms

Counties in western Wisconsin once again delivered wide margins of victory for President Donald Trump on Tuesday, but unlike in 2016, those votes were not enough to put the president over the top in the statewide count.

Late Wednesday morning, the Trump campaign said it would pursue a recount of the state’s more than 3 million votes that gave former Vice President Joe Biden a win by less than one percentage point.

That has people from both sides of the political spectrum on edge.

Chris Kusilek supported Donald Trump and hosted a rally at his business, Total Excavating, in River Falls over the past weekend.

"Some people are saying we’re going to be ok, some people are saying we’re not. I guess I just hope everything is on the up and up," Kusilek said.

In a statement, the Trump campaign made allegations of voting "irregularities" in Wisconsin but state Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe pushed back during a news conference on Wednesday.

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"I think that it’s insulting to our local elections officials to say that yesterday’s election was anything but an incredible success," Wolfe said. "Elections are [a] meticulous process, so everything is recorded by your local election official. If there’s anything abnormal that happens, they record it in their inspector’s statements, so there’s a paper trail for everything."

In Hudson, voter Janine Kohn was not willing to share who she voted for, but described the experience of waiting for an official result as "unnerving."

"Regardless of the outcome, how are we going to move forward and treat each other with respect? And that’s what, as a mom, what I’m trying to teach my 11-year-old twins," Kohn said.

In St. Croix County, Trump’s 16-point margin of victory was down slightly from his edge over Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Lynn Hatella and Diane Rose, of New Richmond, said they were among the 23,000 people in St. Croix County who voted for Joe Biden.

"Trump is just very disrespectful, I feel, toward women," Hatella said. "A lot of lies. And I just feel Biden will do more for us."

Voters in Wisconsin have become accustomed to razor-thin margins of victory and hotly contested results.

The state was the only one in the nation to conduct a presidential recount in 2016, but the results didn’t change the outcome and added just 131 votes to Trump’s margin of victory then.

"It makes me sad because being that close just shows you how divided we are," Rose said. "I just want everybody to get along."