President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign has officially agreed to pay $3 million to launch recount efforts in two liberal Wisconsin counties in hopes of overturning the election in his favor.
What are the details?
According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, recounts in the state’s two most populous counties — Milwaukee and Dane — are expected to begin this week and be completed by the Dec. 1 deadline.
Former Dane County Judge Jim Troupis, who is representing the Trump campaign in its recount effort, said in a statement, “We will not stop fighting for transparency and integrity in our electoral process to ensure that all Americans can trust the results of a free and fair election in Wisconsin and across the country.”
Earlier this month, Trump lost the state to Biden by a narrow margin of just over 20,000 votes. But the Trump campaign has repeatedly contended that widespread election fraud is the reason for its defeat. Now they hope a recount will net them enough votes to flip the important Midwestern state, which helped carry Trump to the Oval Office in 2016.
Though Biden only narrowly won the election statewide, he handily won Milwaukee and Dane counties. The former vice president defeated the incumbent in Milwaukee County 317,270 votes to 134,357, according to the final canvass. In Dane County, he beat Trump 260,185 to 78,800.
The Journal-Sentinel noted that a statewide recount would cost the Trump campaign upwards of $8 million, so at this juncture the campaign elected to save some money and focus efforts on Milwaukee and Dane.
There are certainly enough votes in just those two counties to make a significant difference if the campaign’s claims of election fraud are valid. Democratic nominee Joe Biden amassed more than one-third (35%) of his total Wisconsin vote count in Milwaukee and Dane alone.
The Trump campaign and Republicans in the state are hoping that the recount sheds light on some election practices they have called into question in recent weeks.
For one, Republicans have cried foul over the practice of clerks filling in address information for witnesses on absentee ballot envelopes after witnesses failed to provide that information themselves. According to a recent report, clerks and poll workers in Wisconsin may have “unlawfully altered witness statements” on thousands of mail-in ballots by doing so.
The Journal-Sentinel also made mention of Republicans’ complaints regarding “Democracy in the Park” events which took place in Madison, the capital city, prior to the election.
“At those events, poll workers in more than 200 city parks accepted ballots that had been mailed to voters — an arrangement that the city contends was legal but that Republicans contend amounted to early in-person voting ahead of the early-voting period,” the news outlet noted. “Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell said the ‘Democracy in the Park’ events were not a form of early voting, but rather an ‘in-person drop box.'”
Recounts rarely change the results of an election in any significant way, so without a court victory for Trump which discards fraudulent ballots, the outcome this time around will likely stay the same.