Recount Releases First Results
Trump and Biden have both lost votes in Dane County, gained in Milwaukee County.
For the first time, ward-level data is available on how Wisconsin’s presidential recount is going. Statewide both candidates have lost votes with less than 25% of votes posted.
Milwaukee County has some 400 reporting units (wards or bundles of wards), of which 27 have completed a recount with 14 of them reporting a change in vote totals for at least one candidate. But in only one case did that total exceed one in either direction (Trump gained three votes in one Oak Creek ward).
In Dane County, there are some 250 reporting units and 37 have finished the recount, with 23 reporting a change in the vote. Biden has lost 35 votes and Trump has lost 13.
Biden led Trump by 20,608 votes across Wisconsin and 182,913 votes in Milwaukee County in advance of the recount. A 2016 statewide recount changed the presidential results by just 131 votes.
Reasons for the changes in each case can vary. Milwaukee County suburbs have had votes struck that they shouldn’t have counted on election day (missing witness signatures, unclear intent). In those cases clerks have brought the issues to the county commission for a ruling. Votes have been added that clerks rejected on election day.
In each county a three-member county commission made up of two Democrats and one Republican rule on challenges and municipal clerk questions. The Milwaukee County commission structure, under state law, is determined by the local results of the last gubernatorial election. All other Wisconsin counties consist of the county clerk and one member of each party.
In Milwaukee 57,790 ballots have so far been recounted. In Dane Count 38,847 ballots have been recounted and reported to the state. Approximately 460,300 ballots will be recounted by the two counties.
At least 73 additional votes in the City of Milwaukee are slated to be counted for the first time as a result of the commission accepting absentee ballot envelopes lacking a clerk’s signature that the city previously hadn’t counted. A couple other city absentee envelopes were struck or accepted that will impact Milwaukee’s totals.
The data released Sunday night from Milwaukee County includes all ballots in Bayside, Brown Deer, Cudahy, Greendale, Hales Corners, Shorewood and most of Oak Creek.
Work continued Monday morning at the exhibition hall at the Wisconsin Center, 400 W. Wisconsin Ave. without any notable issues.
The Trump campaign is having all absentee envelopes with mismatched ink colors or a voter declared indefinitely confined placed into manila envelopes to expedite a potential future legal challenge. A total of 18,816 envelopes have already been set aside according to county records, with thousands more expected from the City of Milwaukee.
The Trump campaign is also objecting to all in-person absentee ballot envelopes in Milwaukee County. The commission has ruled they should be accepted, but the Trump campaign has signaled it may challenge them in court over the application process. The ballot envelopes contain a checkbox to note the voter requested it in person, which the commission has ruled is sufficient. There are approximately 108,000 such ballots in Milwaukee County.
Actual ballots in each of those absentee cases continues to be counted. The campaign could pursue a court challenge after the recount is completed.
The work, under state law, must be finished by December 1st. County Clerk George L. Christenson has repeatedly said it will be completed on time, despite delays, and no voters will be disenfranchised.
The state results report is available from Urban Milwaukee.
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