President Donald Trump filed Wednesday for a recount of Wisconsin’s two largest Democratic counties, paying the required $3 million cost and alleging that they were the sites of the “worst irregularities.”
The recounts in Milwaukee and Dane counties will begin Friday and must be done by Dec. 1. Democrat Joe Biden received 577,455 votes in those two counties compared with 213,157 for Trump. Biden won statewide by 20,608 votes, based on canvassed results submitted by the counties.
Milwaukee County is the state’s largest, home to the city of Milwaukee, and Black people make up about 27 percent of the population, more than any other county. Dane County is home to the liberal capital city of Madison and the flagship University of Wisconsin campus.
“The people of Wisconsin deserve to know whether their election processes worked in a legal and transparent way,” said Wisconsin attorney Jim Troupis, who is working with the Trump campaign. “Regrettably, the integrity of the election results cannot be trusted without a recount in these two counties and uniform enforcement of Wisconsin absentee ballot requirements. We will not know the true results of the election until only the legal ballots cast are counted.”
Trump’s campaign made a variety of claims Wednesday, including that clerks wrongly added missing information on returned absentee ballots.
But guidance from the Wisconsin Elections Commission, in place since 2016, says that clerks can fix missing witness address components on the envelopes that contain absentee ballots if they have reliable information. That guidance, passed unanimously by the bipartisan elections commission, has been in place for 11 statewide elections without objection.
The elections commission said that there were no corrections to actual absentee ballots contained inside the envelopes, as some have claimed. The witness signature and address information is all contained on the envelope in which the ballot is sent.
Recounts in Wisconsin and across the country have historically resulted in very few vote changes. A 2016 presidential recount in Wisconsin netted Trump an additional 131 votes.
Trump won Wisconsin by fewer than 23,000 votes that year, and opposed the recount brought by Green Party candidate Jill Stein.