National Guard Called In to Help Wisconsin Ballot Count

November 4, 2020 Updated: November 4, 2020

Around two dozen members of the National Guard were called on to assist with transcribing votes from at least 13,500 misprinted absentee ballots onto fresh ballots in two Wisconsin counties on Wednesday, according to Fox News.

The move comes after the Wisconsin Supreme Court denied a petition from Outagamie and Calumet Counties to issue a ruling on the misprinted ballots, according to a statement from the Outagamie County Clerk’s Office (pdf), prompting county officials to recommend the statutorily prescribed method of manual transcription of the misprinted ballots, which cannot be processed by machine.

“The duplication process will take additional time, so the public should be aware that election results will be delayed,” Outagamie County Clerk Lori O’Bright said in the statement. “They will be posted as soon as possible.”

O’Bright said the misprinted ballots cannot be counted by hand and must instead be transcribed onto clean ballots, which will then be fed into the tabulating machines. She gave assurances that the affected votes would be counted.

“Per the court’s decision and following the letter of the law, voters can be assured that all votes will be counted. If a voter cast a ballot with the misprinted timing mark, they can rest assured their votes will be counted,” she said.

Both counties went for President Donald Trump in 2016.

Meanwhile, Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden were locked early Wednesday in a razor-thin race in Wisconsin as vote counting stretched into the predawn hours.

Bill Stepien, Trump’s campaign manager, said Wisconsin could be headed to a recount. He told reporters in a news conference on Wednesday that the state and other states like it are in “recount territory,” adding that the race is “tight” within a “1 percent” margin.

It came as Trump wrote on Twitter that it is “VERY STRANGE” that votes have begun to come in for Biden after the president was “leading, often solidly, in many key States, in almost all instances Democrat run & controlled.”

Trump held a lead earlier in the night, buoyed by in-person voting results, but nearly 170,000 outstanding ballots from Milwaukee, as well as ballots from other cities, broke heavily for Biden.

Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe later announced that all votes had been counted in the state and Biden won the state by around 20,000 votes out of nearly 3.2 million cast.

In 2016, Trump won Wisconsin by fewer than 23,000 votes and three of the past five presidential elections in the state were decided by less than a percentage point.

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