Jeramey Jannene

Trump Campaign Objects to Over 160,000 County Ballots

"Behavior of Trump observers" has delayed process, one official charges.

By - Nov 23rd, 2020 05:34 pm
Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley visits the the convention center on the fourth day of the recount. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley visits the the convention center on the fourth day of the recount. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The Donald Trump campaign is objecting to the counting of over 160,000 Milwaukee County absentee votes. A total that is certain to grow in the coming days.

The campaign is objecting to all in-person absentee votes, to absentee envelopes where the clerk completed an address (mismatched ink) and to ballots where the voter identified themselves as “indefinitely confined.” The latter two objections, along with a bulk objection to all absentee ballots in Oak Creek, totaled almost 19,000 as of Monday morning.

The three-member county commission has voted, on a party-line vote in each case, to accept the ballots that correspond to the challenged absentee envelopes. Following the recount, the Trump campaign could challenge the ballots in court in an attempt to get them thrown out.

In total, the county reports having 108,947 in-person absentee ballots and 51,060 indefinitely confined ballots in advance of the recount.

Ballots with mismatched ink continue to be found. A total of 82 mismatched ink ballots had been found across the five municipalities with completed results as of Monday morning. The City of Milwaukee’s reporting is expected to add substantially to that total.

Mismatched ink occurs when the clerk, under state guidance, completes an address where only a street name was given but no city, state or ZIP code.

A challenge on indefinitely confined ballots stems from an April court ruling to county clerks including Milwaukee County Clerk George L. Christenson. The Milwaukee County clerk and a number of his peers had issued guidance to request an absentee ballot and declare yourself “indefinitely confined,” skipping the need to provide voter identification for an already registered voter during the Safer at Home order. The court reversed that guidance, but did not change the status of those that already had made such a declaration.

In the case of mismatched ink and indefinitely confined envelopes, the county has been placing them into manila envelopes by ward and marking them as exhibits for a potential future court challenge.

The biggest objection, in terms of volume, is focused on in-person absentee voting, commonly called early voting. A checkmark on the envelope, also labeled as an application, serves as the application for an absentee ballot request according to state guidance. Milwaukee County Corporation Counsel Margaret Daun and commission chair Tim Posnanski said the practice complies with state law.

The commission, based on the number of requests, denied a request to segregate the ballots for a potential legal challenge.

In each case, the associated ballots are being counted. A successful legal challenge to the ballots would result in the associated ballots being thrown out.

Christenson said Monday morning the counting process has been delayed, but is on track to be completed by the state deadline of December 1st.

Trump campaign attorney Stewart Karge proactively denied delaying the effort while suggesting more workers be brought in by the City of Milwaukee.

“I would note for the record that there were delays I believe caused by the behavior of observers from the Trump campaign and I anticipate we would be much further along in the process had that not occurred,” said Posnanski.

Multiple officials, including Christenson and Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley, said things were improving on Monday. Beyond the standing objections, fewer challenges were issued and for much of the day the 186,000-square-foot Wisconsin Center exhibition hall was quiet except for poll workers shuffling paperwork.

Joe 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.

For more on the early recount results, see our coverage from earlier Monday.

More about the 2020 General Election

Read more about 2020 General Election here

More about the Presidential Recount

Read more about Presidential Recount here

Categories: Politics, Weekly

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