Jeramey Jannene

Wisconsin Recount Grows Biden’s Margin, But Trump Says Fight Isn’t Over

President promises a lawsuit while Biden's margin grows by 87 votes.

By - Nov 29th, 2020 02:10 pm
A City of Milwaukee poll worker raises her marker for clerk support while a Trump campaign observer objects to a absentee ballot envelope during the 2020 presidential recount. Photo by Jeramey Jannene

A City of Milwaukee poll worker raises her marker for clerk support while a Trump campaign observer objects to a absentee ballot envelope during the 2020 presidential recount. Photo by Jeramey Jannene

After re-examining approximately 800,000 votes, a two-county recount resulted in Joe Biden‘s margin of victory growing by 87 votes. Biden defeated Donald Trump by 20,695 votes in Wisconsin. But according to Trump himself, this isn’t the end.

“The Wisconsin recount is not about finding mistakes in the count, it is about finding people who have voted illegally, and that case will be brought after the recount is over, on Monday or Tuesday. We have found many illegal votes. Stay tuned!” he tweeted Saturday. The campaign has objected to over 200,000 absentee ballots, including one cast by one of its own attorneys. Despite earlier tweets by Trump alleging fraud in Milwaukee, the campaign has not presented evidence of fraud in either county.

When Milwaukee County’s portion of the recount concluded on Friday, Biden’s margin improved by 132 votes. He gained 257 votes, Donald Trump gained 125. Biden won the state’s most populous county by 183,045 votes. Much of the change could be attributed to the City of Milwaukee, officials found 386 sealed ballots at the bottom of a box, got approval to count 73 absentee ballots previously rejected because a poll worker made a mistake and misplaced, at least for now, 65 previously counted in-person ballots.

Dane County concluded its recount on Sunday morning with a net improvement for Trump of 45 votes. Both candidates lost votes in the county, largely the result of previously-accepted absentee ballots having been found to lack the necessary signatures or addresses. Biden lost 91 votes, Trump lost 46. Biden won the state’s second-most populous county by 181,340 votes.

The Trump campaign, as required by state law, wired $3 million to the Wisconsin Elections Commission two weeks ago to pay for the recount. Milwaukee County’s portion, held at the Wisconsin Center, was expected to cost $2 million but Milwaukee County Clerk George L. Christenson said Friday that things ending ahead of schedule would likely result in a savings that would be refunded to the campaign. Dane County’s portion was estimated to cost approximately $750,000.

Assuming the full estimated cost of $2.75 million was incurred for both counties, Trump paid $31,609.25 for each vote Biden’s margin expanded by.

In Milwaukee, the Trump campaign is challenging absentee ballots from three different categories: all in-person absentee ballots, 108,947, on the basis of an insufficient application; all applications and absentee ballots cast by voters who declared themselves “indefinitely confined,” particularly after March 25th (approximately 19,000 ballots), on the basis that clerks provided improper guidance; all absentee ballots where clerks completed the witness address (commonly called “mismatched ink” envelopes) on the basis that the address is incomplete and the ballot should be rejected.

In total the campaign filed objections to approximately 160,000 absentee ballots and associated envelopes in the county.

In each case, the county commission said it was following state guidance and law in accepting the ballots.

Similar objections were levied in Dane County, bringing the statewide total of objections to nearly 240,000.

Trump’s lead attorneys in Milwaukee County during the recount were Stewart Karge and Joe Voiland.

In Dane County Trump is being represented by brothers Jim Troupis and Christ Troupis. Jim has submitted an objection to his own in-person absentee ballot.

A 2016 statewide recount, paid for by the Green Party, resulted in Trump gaining 131 votes.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission is scheduled to meet December 1st to certify the election results. Two pending lawsuits aim to prevent them from doing so. One filed by the conservative Wisconsin Voters Alliance mirrors many of the Trump campaign’s arguments regarding absentee ballots. A second suit, filed by a conservative Chippewa Falls attorney, seeks to have all dropbox-returned absentee ballots tossed. Each suit proposes a remedy of throwing out the election and having the Republican-controlled state Legislature appoint the Electoral College delegates.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has yet to formally accept any of the suits.

Even if the Supreme Court rules in the plaintiff’s favor, the Legislature would still need to replace the Electoral College delegates.

Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke (R-Kaukana) made his view clear on the idea. Responding to a Wisconsin State Journal article, Steineke tweeted a photo of Dana Carvey playing George H.W. Bush on Saturday Night Live with the caption “Not Gonna Do It.”

“This recount demonstrated what we already know: that elections in Milwaukee County are fair, transparent, accurate and secure,” said Christenson when Milwaukee’s recount concluded Friday. “We have once again demonstrated good government in the state of Wisconsin.” He was critical before and after the recount of the Trump campaign picking only Milwaukee and Dane counties to be recounted amid a pandemic.

“For me what this recount showed was that there was absolutely no evidence of voter fraud in this election even after looking at over 300,000 ballots, over 254,000 envelopes,” said Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell on Sunday. “Really this incredible level of transparency should provide reassurance to the public that the election was run properly and accurately and there was no fraud.” He expressed frustration that the Trump campaign was only trying to throw out votes in the counties that delivered the most votes for the Democratic candidate.

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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