MADISON, Wis. (TMJ4/AP) — Joe Biden’s victory in battleground Wisconsin was confirmed Monday following a partial recount that only added to his 20,600-vote margin over President Donald Trump, who has promised to file a lawsuit seeking to undo the results.
Confirmation of the results by the Democratic chairwoman of the Wisconsin Elections Commission started a five-day window for Trump to file a lawsuit. Trump on Saturday promised to file a lawsuit either on Monday or Tuesday, a longshot attempt to overturn the results by disqualifying as many as 238,000 ballots. Trump’s attorneys have alleged without evidence that there was widespread fraud and illegal activity. The Trump campaign now has five days to appeal.
Monday afternoon, Wisconsin Elections Commission Chair Ann Jacobs accepted the canvass results from the WEC administrator Meagan Wolfe in a meeting this afternoon that lasted about 5 minutes.
“I have examined the statement and I am now signing it as the official state determination of the results of the November 3rd Election and the canvass,” said Jacobs as she signed the statement.
It confirms the results of the state’s presidential election. President-elect Joe Biden won Wisconsin by nearly 21,000 votes over President Donald Trump.
WEC commissioner Bob Spindell, who is also a Republican delegate, says he disagrees with how the chair of the commission is determining the recount results. Spindell says Monday’s confirmation of the election results does not make it final.
“This is the first step that is required in order for the lawsuit to start,” said Spindell.
Election Attorney Michael Mastelman says there are now five days in which anyone can appeal those results. He expects the Trump campaign will be filling one soon. He says they have been waiting for the results to be determined which happened with Monday afternoon.
“Donald Trump and his lawyers will come in and file a lawsuit to undue the results in Wisconsin,” said Maistelman. “The determination [by the WEC] is the thing they are appealing.”
The Wisconsin Election Commission meets as a whole Tuesday morning at 10 a.m.
Trump paid $3 million for recounts in Dane and Milwaukee counties, the two largest Democratic counties in Wisconsin, but the recount ended up increasing Biden’s lead by 87 votes. Biden won statewide by nearly 20,700 votes.
Trump, during the recount, sought to have ballots discarded where election clerks filled in missing address information on the certification envelope where the ballot is inserted. The state elections commission told clerks before the election that they could fill in missing information on the absentee ballot envelopes, a practice that has been in place for at least the past 11 elections and that no court has ever ruled illegal.
Trump also challenged any absentee ballot where a voter declared themselves to be “indefinitely confined” under the law, a designation that increased from about 57,000 in 2016 to nearly 216,000 this year due to the pandemic. Such a declaration exempts the voter from having to show a photo identification to cast a ballot, which Trump attorney Christ Troupis called “an open invitation for fraud and abuse.” The conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court this spring ruled that it is up to individual voters to determine whether they are indefinitely confined, in line with guidance from the state elections commission.
Trump also sought to discard any absentee ballot where there was not a written application on file and all absentee ballots cast in-person during the two weeks before Election Day.
People who vote in-person early fill out a certification envelope that they then place their ballot in and that envelope serves as the written record. But the vast majority of absentee requests these days are made online, with a voter’s name entered into an electronic log with no paper record.
Disqualifying all of the ballots in Milwaukee and Dane counties that Trump identified during the recount would result in more than 238,000 votes not counting, according to an analysis by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The conservative Wisconsin Voters Alliance sued last week seeking to block certification of the results and give the Republican-controlled Legislature the power to appoint presidential electors to cast the state’s 10 Electoral College votes. Another lawsuit filed over the weekend by Wisconsin resident Dean Mueller argues that ballots placed in drop boxes are illegal and must not be counted.