“The official results of the solicitation reaffirmed Biden’s clear and resounding victory in Wisconsin after Wisconsin voters turned out to vote in record numbers,” said Biden campaign spokesperson Nate Evans. “A selective and selective recount of Milwaukee and Dane County will not change these results.”
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Milwaukee County is the largest in the state, home to the city of Milwaukee, and blacks make up about 27% of the population, more than any other county. Dane County is home to the liberal capital of Madison and the flagship University of Wisconsin campus.
“The people of Wisconsin deserve to know if their electoral processes worked in a legal and transparent manner,” said Wisconsin lawyer Jim Troupis, who works with the Trump campaign. “Unfortunately, the integrity of the election results cannot be trusted without a recount in these two counties and a consistent application of Wisconsin’s absent ballot requirements. We will not know the real results of the elections until only the legal ballots cast have been counted. ”
Dean Knudson, a Republican member of the Wisconsin Election Commission, said Trump had raised “important legal issues that have never been decided in Wisconsin.”
But a colleague on the committee, Democrat Mark Thomsen, said Trump was trying to change the rules of the election after his loss, but only in two counties.
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“It’s like losing the Super Bowl and then saying ‘I want a review of a certain game using different rules than the rest of the game,” said Thomsen. “This is the essence of hypocrisy, cheating and dishonesty.”
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a Democrat, called the recount “an attack on cities, minorities, places that have historically voted Democrat.” Don’t let anyone fool you by saying these are irregularities.
Trump’s campaign made various claims on Wednesday, including that clerks wrongly added missing information about returned absent ballots.
But guidelines from the Wisconsin Election Commission, in place since 2016, say clerks can fix missing witness address elements on envelopes containing mail ballots if they have reliable information. This direction, adopted unanimously by the bipartisan electoral commission, was put in place for 11 statewide elections without objection.
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The election commission said no corrections were made to the missing ballots contained in the envelopes, as some claimed. The witness’s signature and address are all on the envelope in which the ballot is sent.
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The Trump campaign also alleges that thousands of voters improperly circumvented Wisconsin’s photo ID requirement by claiming they were confined indefinitely and therefore did not have to show photo ID to return their absent ballot.
Wisconsin law requires all voters to present acceptable photo ID to vote in person and by mail. It provides exceptions for citizens who are imprisoned for an indefinite period due to their age, physical illness or disability or who are disabled for an indefinite period.
The Wisconsin Republican Party sued Democratic County Clerk Dane Scott McDonell in March, ahead of the state’s spring primaries, for informing that it posted on its Facebook page that voters could declare themselves confined indefinitely in due to the pandemic. The Wisconsin Supreme Court ordered McDonell to stop issuing guidelines other than the official language approved by the Wisconsin Election Commission. The Trump campaign alleged that “the damage was already done” before McDonell was ordered to suppress the language.
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The Trump campaign also alleges that local election secretaries issued postal ballots to voters without demanding a request, in violation of state law. Trump’s complaint alleges 60,000 votes were cast by people who did not submit a written request but offered no evidence.
Election commission members Knudson and Thomsen both said they did not know what Trump was referring to in this part of the complaint.
“It was news to me that this was happening,” said Knudson, a Republican.
Thomsen, a Democratic member, said that claim was “not true”.
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“Everyone knows you can’t get a mail-in ballot unless you ask for it,” Thomsen said.
Trump also claimed that observers in Milwaukee were being held too far away to observe the counting of the ballots.
“Once observational access is provided during a recount, errors, violations of the law (in addition to already known open access violations) and frauds will be uncovered,” the complaint states.
Election leaders for Milwaukee and Dane counties said they would live stream the recount to be performed at convention centers in Milwaukee and Madison, with room for in-person observers. The recount will continue in both cities over the weekend, not taking off until Thanksgiving, until it’s completed.
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“We know the outcome will be the same as it was,” McDonell said. “This is what we saw statewide four years ago and this election, from my perspective, went very well.”
Recounts in Wisconsin and across the country have always resulted in very few voting changes. A 2016 presidential recount in Wisconsin earned Trump 131 more votes.
Trump won Wisconsin by less than 23,000 votes that year and opposed the recount brought by Green Party candidate Jill Stein.
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“People have spoken and the election is over,” Trump said at the time. “We have to accept this result and then look to the future.”
After the recount was over and his victory confirmed, Trump took to Twitter again.
“Wisconsin’s final vote is underway and guess what – we just garnered 131 more votes,” Trump tweeted at the time after the recount. “The Dems and the Green Party can now rest. Scam! ”
Associated Press editor Doug Glass in Minneapolis contributed.
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