Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden gained an additional 87 votes in Wisconsin’s partial recount on Sunday, confirming his lead in the state count that is being contested by the Trump campaign over alleged voting irregularities.
Before the partial recount began on Nov. 20, Biden was ahead statewide by about 20,000 votes. Dane and Milwaukee counties started recounts after the Wisconsin Elections Commission approved a request for recount from the Trump campaign at a cost of $3 million.
Trump vowed legal challenges of the state’s results even before the recount concluded, saying on Nov. 28 that the recount “is not about finding mistakes in the count, it is about finding people who have voted illegally.
“We have found many illegal votes. Stay tuned!” he said.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 28, 2020
Dane County’s recount reported a 45-vote gain for Trump. Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Sunday that this was largely due to the discovery of absentee ballot envelopes that lacked voter signatures, witness signatures, or witness addresses.
In Milwaukee county, Biden gained a net 132 votes after its recount finished on Nov. 27.
The state holds 10 electoral votes and faces a certification deadline of Dec. 1 Certification will be conducted by the Democratic chair of the bipartisan Wisconsin Election Commission.
Trump campaign spokeswoman Jenna Ellis said in a statement that the Wisconsin recounts have “revealed serious issues” about the validity of the ballots, without elaborating on arguments earlier outlined by the Trump campaign on Nov. 18 (pdf).
“As we have said from the very beginning, we want every legal vote, and only legal votes to be counted, and we will continue to uphold our promise to the American people to fight for a free and fair election,” Ellis said.
Several legal matters are ongoing in Wisconsin with regard to the election results.
One group filed an emergency petition asking the Wisconsin Supreme Court to block the certification of election results because of alleged irregularities.
In its lawsuit, the Chicago-based law firm the Thomas More Society detailed a series of alleged illegal actions taken by Wisconsin officials that led to significant numbers of improper votes being counted. One example listed officials not enforcing state laws that require voters to present photo identification when requesting an absentee, or mail-in, ballot. In a response filing on Nov. 27, state election officials said the petition made arguments that rest “on the flimsiest of legal and factual bases.”
Another lawsuit filed last week also seeks to block the state’s certification of election results, arguing that all ballots cast via “illegal ballot drop boxes” should be discarded as to not dilute legally cast votes.
Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.