Jeramey Jannene

Counting Effectively Completed, Milwaukee County Recount Will Finish on Friday

One ward remains, Trump campaign maintaining objections to over 100,000 ballots.

By - Nov 25th, 2020 06:25 pm
City of Milwaukee election staff, including executive director Claire Woodall-Vogg (seated). Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

City of Milwaukee election staff, including executive director Claire Woodall-Vogg (seated). Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Milwaukee County’s half of the Wisconsin presidential recount is effectively finished after six days. Only one City of Milwaukee ward is unfinished.

But the results won’t be able until Friday at the earliest.

The Milwaukee County Election Commission adjourned Wednesday night and will reconvene Friday morning to complete the necessary procedural moves to complete the process. The city will finish its remaining ward.

The Donald Trump campaign wired $3 million to the state last week and requested a recount of only Dane and Milwaukee counties, the state’s two largest counties. Both counties have until December 1st to finish their work.

After an opening day in which no ballots were counted and the commission and campaigns traded barbs, work began to move forward.

By Sunday, the third day, the work was moving smoothly. Milwaukee County Clerk George L. Christenson said things were tension-free mid-day Tuesday. But that night a heated exchange took place between the Trump campaign and the three-member commission.

As of Wednesday morning 413,000 of the 460,000 ballots had been counted with 16 of 19 municipalities completed. River Hills, Greenfield and Milwaukee, with the exception of one ward, finished their counting before 5:00 p.m. Wednesday.

Milwaukee officials could not find 65 of the 88 in-person ballots previously counted in Ward 254 said Claire Woodall-Vogg of the ballots on-hand at the Wisconsin Center.

“We went back to our warehouse and located them in our voting machine where it appears the chief left them,” said Woodall-Vogg, the city’s election director.

Commission chair Tim Posnanski said they would be counted on Friday. Former city election director Neil Albrecht found them at the city warehouse at 1901 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. and brought them to the facility. The quantity and results of the ward were known on election day and will be double-checked as part of the recount.

“It happens,” said Christenson. He said a similar issue with a different city happened in 2016 during the recount.

He characterized the day as going smoothly. Even without the ballots the commission would not have been able to finish its work said Posnanski. “I had hoped to announce we were done counting, sounds like we have about 60 more to go,” he said as things wound down for the day. The commission would have needed to meet Friday to perform a number of procedural tasks even if the ballots were already counted.

The biggest change in election results is expected to stem from 386 sealed ballots found Tuesday in the bottom of a box for Ward 315 on Milwaukee’s far south side. Urban Milwaukee reported November 5th that turnout in that ward was unusually low and no reason could be determined.

Attorneys for the Joe Biden campaign moved Wednesday to submit that article to the record of the recount.

The Trump campaign meanwhile has submitted dozens of exhibits to the record that contain opened absentee envelopes where the ink colors do not match or the voter declared themselves indefinitely confined. The campaign also has a standing objection to the approximately 108,000 in-person absentee ballots that were cast.

A group allied with the Trump campaign filed a petition with the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Tuesday challenging the absentee ballots and seeking to have the election overturned.

Sheriff deputies, as they have each day since last Thursday, will guard the ballots on Thanksgiving and during the final hours of the recount on Friday.

The deputies have escorted people from the premises seven times, including one individual twice for not wearing a mask properly. They have not had to escort anyone out in the past two days.

A photographer was asked to leave by the commission on Wednesday after two violations of the recount’s photography policy that prohibits photographs of voter-identification information on ballots and envelopes.

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.

Results from both counties will be available when posted by the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

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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

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