Wisconsin finished a recount of its presidential results on November 29, confirming Democrat Joe Biden’s victory over President Donald Trump in the key battleground state. Trump vowed to challenge the outcome in court even before the recount concluded.
Dane County was the second and last county to finish its recount, reporting a 45-vote gain for Trump. Milwaukee County, the state’s other big and overwhelmingly liberal county targeted in a recount that Trump paid $3 million for, reported its results on November 27, a 132-vote gain for Biden.
Taken together, the two counties barely budged Biden’s winning margin of about 20,600 votes, giving the winner a net gain of 87 votes.
“As we have said, the recount only served to reaffirm Joe Biden’s victory in Wisconsin,” Danielle Melfi, who led Biden’s campaign in Wisconsin, said in a statement to The Associated Press.
Trump campaign spokeswoman Jenna Ellis said in a questionable statement that the Wisconsin recounts have “revealed serious issues” about whether the ballots were legal, but she offered no specific details to validate her claim.
“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.
With no precedent for overturning a result as large as Biden’s, Trump was widely expected to head to court once the recount was finished. His campaign challenged thousands of absentee ballots during the recount, and even before it was complete, Trump tweeted that he would sue.
The deadline to certify the vote is December 1. Certification is done by the Democratic chair of the Wisconsin Election Commission, which is bipartisan.
The Wisconsin Voters Alliance, a conservative group, has already filed a lawsuit against state election officials seeking to block certification of the results. It makes many of the false claims Trump is expected to make. Attorneys for Governor Tony Evers have asked the state Supreme Court to dismiss the suit. Governor Evers said the complaint is a “mishmash of legal distortions” that uses factual misrepresentations in an attempt to take voting rights away from millions of Wisconsin residents.
Trump’s attorneys have complained about absentee ballots where voters identified themselves as “indefinitely confined,” allowing them to cast an absentee ballot without showing a photo ID; ballots that have a certification envelope with two different ink colors, indicating a poll worker may have helped complete it; and absentee ballots that don’t have a separate written record for its request, such as in-person absentee ballots.
Election officials in the two counties counted those ballots during the recount, but marked them as exhibits at the request of the Trump campaign. Trump’s campaign has already failed repeated elsewhere in court without proof of widespread fraud, which experts widely agree does not exist. Trump legal challenges have failed in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, with stinging rebukes from Republican judges.