Sunday, November 29, 2020

Trump Campaign Says Wisconsin Elections Commission ‘Failed to Follow the Law’ as Recount Begins in 2 Counties

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President Donald Trump‘s campaign said that the Wisconsin Elections Commission has “repeatedly failed to follow the law” in a statement shared with reporters on Friday.

The statement from the campaign’s Wisconsin counsel, Jim Troupis, came the day that ballot recounts began in Dane County and Milwaukee County. Trump’s campaign formally requested the recounts on Wednesday and paid $3 million as required by state law so election officials could complete the task.

“Our democracy depends on fair and impartial elections that fully adhere to the Constitution and state statute,” Troupis’ statement began. “By staging a last-minute attempt to change the rules, and by providing unlawful advice before then, the Wisconsin Elections Commission has repeatedly failed to follow the law. They have disenfranchised voters and undermined the integrity of this election.

“We continue to be confident that when all of the legal ballots are counted and illegal ballots are not counted, President Trump will be proven the winner.”

Wisconsin recount
Representatives for President Donald Trump, left, look over ballots during the presidential recount vote for Dane County on November 20, in Madison, Wisconsin. Trump’s campaign released a statement on Friday saying the Wisconsin Elections Commission “repeatedly failed to follow the law” as the recount began in two Wisconsin counties.
Andy Manis/Getty

The “last-minute attempt to change the rules” that Troupis mentioned appeared to refer to disagreements that broke out between members of the commission after Trump’s campaign filed its recount request. According to the Associated Press, Democrats and Republicans on the commission disagreed on Wednesday over suggested updates to its rulebook governing how recounts are carried out. Republicans did not support making some of the proposed changes to the commission’s manual regarding absentee ballot applications, according to the AP. Those rules were ultimately left unchanged.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission said Thursday on Twitter that other proposed changes to its manual were unanimously approved by committee members, including a staff memorandum on public health recommendations during the recount as COVID-19 rages through the state and granting access during the recount so that representatives from Trump’s campaign and President-elect Joe Biden‘s campaign can observe the process and raise concerns if necessary.

Both counties are required to finish their recounts by December 1.

Trump has yet to concede the presidential race, though several national media outlets called the election for Biden on November 7. Trump’s campaign filed legal challenges in several states after Election Day, many of which alleged without evidence that widespread voter fraud contributed to Biden’s victory.

The AP projected Biden would win the race in Wisconsin on November 4, and he currently holds a lead of more than 20,000 votes in the state. Dane County and Milwaukee County are both historically Democratic-leaning areas that Hillary Clinton won by more than 36 points each in 2016, though Trump won the state that election cycle by a narrow margin.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission’s administrator, Meagan Wolfe, said in a news release following the recount request from Trump’s campaign that the commission was aware that “the eyes of the world” would be focused on Dane and Milwaukee counties as election officials began the recount process. “We remain committed to providing information about the process and assisting our county clerks by providing facts on the mechanics of a recount and status updates,” Wolfe said.

Newsweek reached out to the Wisconsin Elections Commission for further comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

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