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Trump campaign files for recount in 2 Wisconsin counties, foots $3M bill

A ballot for the New Hampshire primary is entered into a machine at a polling site, Feb. 9, 2016, in Nashua, N.H. (Voice Of America/Released)
November 18, 2020

President Donald Trump’s campaign filed a recount petition with the Wisconsin Elections Commission in two counties Wednesday, alleging illegally changed absentee ballots, illegally issued absentee ballots, and illegal advice from government officials that allowed Voter ID laws to be avoided.

According to a press release from Trump’s re-election campaign, Milwaukee and Dane counties were chosen because “they are the locations with the worst irregularities.” The estimated cost of the recount is around $3 million, and the Trump campaign said it transferred that amount to the state.

The release alleged that the Wisconsin Elections Commission told Wisconsin municipal clerks to modify incomplete absentee ballots, directly contradicting Wisconsin law.

“Clerks were instructed that they could rely on their own ‘personal knowledge,’ or unspecified ‘lists or databases at his or her disposal’ to add in missing information on returned absentee ballots,” the release stated. “Under Wisconsin law, incomplete absentee ballots may not be counted.”

Trump’s campaign went on to claim clerks across the state of Wisconsin distributed absentee ballots to voters without an application, violating absentee voting safeguards.

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“Wisconsin law expressly requires that absentee ballots may not be issued without receiving a written application requesting the ballot. Despite this clear mandatory requirement, clerks uniformly issued absentee ballots without collecting a written application from persons who requested absentee ballots in person during the two week in-person absentee voting period that ran from October 20, 2020 through November 1, 2020,” the release stated.

In order to ensure that only eligible Americans can vote, Wisconsin requires voter identification unless a voter is deemed “indefinitely confined.” Trump’s campaign claims “some Democrat county clerks” gave illicit advice to voters, recommending they falsely claim to be indefinitely confined in order to get around Wisconsin voter ID law.

The number of voters claiming to be “indefinitely confined” increased from 72,000 last year to over 240,000 in 2020, the Trump campaign said. Many of the “indefinitely confined” voters were sent and voted through mail-in ballots without correct identification and didn’t meet the requirements for the “indefinitely confined” status.

“The people of Wisconsin deserve to know whether their election processes worked in a legal and transparent way. 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,” said Jim Troupis, counsel to the campaign. “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.”

Democrat candidate for president Joe Biden currently leads President Trump in Wisconsin by just over 20,000 votes, The Associated Press reported.