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Trump suing MI for tally site access and calls for WI recount as race comes down to the wire

Donald Trump in Phoenix, Ariz. in Feb. 2020. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr) | Joe Biden in Altoona, Iowa in Aug. 2019. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
November 04, 2020

President Donald Trump’s campaign team announced on Wednesday they will request a recount of ballots in the state of Wisconsin, citing the closness of the race in the key swing state and “serious doubts about the validity of the results.” The Trump campaign also announced a lawsuit in the Michigan Court of Claims calling for the state to stop counting ballots until the Trump campaign is granted access to election sites where they can observe the ongoing vote count.

The Trump campaign’s call for a recount in Wisconsin came minutes before CNN, the Associated Press and Fox News called the race in the state for Joe Biden.

Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien released a statement saying, “Despite ridiculous public polling used as a voter suppression tactic, Wisconsin has been a razor thin race as we always knew that it would be. There have been reports of irregularities in several Wisconsin counties which raise serious doubts about the validity of the results. The President is well within the threshold to request a recount and we will immediately do so.”

In a second statement regarding Michigan, Stepien said, “As votes in Michigan continue to be counted, the presidential race in the state remains extremely tight as we always knew it would be. President Trump’s campaign has not been provided with meaningful access to numerous counting locations to observe the opening of ballots and the counting process, as guaranteed by Michigan law. We have filed suit today in the Michigan Court of Claims to halt counting until meaningful access has been granted. We also demand to review those ballots which were opened and counted while we did not have meaningful access. President Trump is committed to ensuring that all legal votes are counted in Michigan and everywhere else.”

According to Fox News’ election map, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden holds a .6 percent lead over Trump, and is ahead by less than 21,000 ballots. Biden’s vote total is about 1,630,400 to about 1,609,900 for Trump. Biden took the lead early on Wednesday morning after Trump had held a lead in the state through Tuesday night and into the early part of Monday morning. Fox News has reported the 21,000 ballot difference separating Biden and Trump with 95 percent of the vote reporting in.

That state of Wisconsin doesn’t have an official statewide Election Night reporting system and election results are instead reported by individual counties. Wisconsin’s laws regarding post-election challenges do not include provisions for an automatic recount, but any candidate may petition for one.

Biden also overturned a Trump lead in Michigan early on Wednesday morning and narrowly leads in that state by .9 percent, with just over 45,000 more votes than Trump, according to the Fox News election map. Biden currently holds about 2,622,100 votes against about 2,576,700 for Trump.

The result of Wisconsin and Michigan’s votes could determine whether 10 electoral college votes from Wisconsin and 16 electoral college votes from Michigan go to Biden or Trump. Both candidates are below the threshold of 270 electoral college votes required to win the presidential election.

Trump won Wisconsin in 2016 by less than 1 percentage point and on Wednesday The Hill reported Biden’s campaign expressed confidence Biden would flip the Wisconsin.

“We are going to win Wisconsin, recount or no recount,” Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said on a zoom call, reported by The Hill.

Biden’s campaign also reportedly expressed confidence Biden would win in Michigan and Pennsylvania.

As the results are currently projected by Fox News, Biden holds 238 of the electoral college votes he would need to win the election. Winning Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes, along with Michigan’s 16 electoral votes and Pennsylvania’s 20 would bring him to 281 electoral votes and would leave Trump with no pathway to retaining the presidency even if he won the remaining states yet to be tallied.