By Jack Phillips
The Trump campaign said Wednesday it will file for a partial recount in Wisconsin that targets several counties, spending $3 million to cover the estimated cost.
A full recount of the state would cost around $8 million, Wisconsin election officials have previously said. A canvass of the entire state was completed Tuesday and President Donald Trump’s team had until 5 p.m. local time on Wednesday to request a recount, said officials.
The recount request will target Milwaukee and Dane counties, the campaign said, noting there were alleged “illegally altered absentee ballots, illegally issued absentee ballots, and illegal advice given by government officials allowing Wisconsin’s Voter ID laws to be circumvented,” according to a news release.
The campaign further accused the Wisconsin Elections Commission to direct municipal clerks to illegally alter absentee ballots, which is illegal under state law. Clerks were told to use their own “personal knowledge” as well as “lists or databases at his or her disposal” to add missing information that is required by law on absentee ballots, the campaign asserted.
The commission’s public information officer, Reid Magney, told the Journal Sentinel Wednesday that the guidance was issued several years ago that clerks are required to “take corrective actions in an attempt to remedy a witness address error.” He added, “The guidance has been in effect for 11 statewide elections, including the 2016 presidential and presidential recount, and no one has objected to it until now.” He didn’t elaborate on whether it circumvents state law.
But the campaign said that clerks across the state also sent “absentee ballots to voters without requiring an application,” which is in “direct conflict with Wisconsin’s absentee voting safeguards” as state law stipulates that absentee ballots should not be issued without written consent via an application about requesting the ballot.
In June, the Wisconsin Elections Commission gave its final approval to mailing out absentee ballot application forms, but the order did not stipulate sending out ballots themselves to voters.
“Wisconsin law expressly requires that absentee ballots may not be issued without receiving a written application requesting the ballot,” Trump’s campaign said. “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 Trump team also alleged that Democrat county clerks in some areas “illegally advised voters to illegally mischaracterize that they were indefinitely confined to circumvent Wisconsin voter ID law.” It noted that there were more than 72,000 who were described as “indefinitely confined” in 2019, but there were more than 240,000 during the time of the 2020 elections.
“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,” Jim Troupis, counsel to the campaign, said in a statement.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission hasn’t responded to a request for comment regarding the Trump campaign’s claims on Wednesday.