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Milwaukee County Ballot Recount Complete, Biden Gains 257 Votes

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Scott Olson
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Getty Images
Election officials wait as procedural issues are argued during the process of recounting ballots from the November 3 election at the Wisconsin Center on November 20, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The recount of votes cast during the presidential election concluded in Milwaukee County Friday evening, and the final tally shows, once again, that President-elect Joe Biden won the primarily Democratic county over incumbent President Donald Trump.

The count started last Friday. Biden gained 257 votes in Milwaukee County, bringing his total to 317,527. Trump gained 125 votes, bringing his total to 134,482. Dane County’s recount will continue into the weekend.

Biden won the state of Wisconsin by nearly 20,600 votes, and his margin in Milwaukee and Dane counties was about 2-to-1.

During a press conference soon after the Milwaukee count was completed, Milwaukee County clerk George Christenson thanked everyone who helped throughout the process.

“I promised that this would be a transparent and fair process and it was,” Christenson said. "There was an examination of every ballot by election workers, a meticulous recounting of every ballot that was properly cast. A transparent process that allowed the public to observe a fair process that allows either the aggrieved candidate who sought the recount an opportunity to observe and object to ballots that they believe should not be counted.”

Christenson added that the recount “demonstrated what we already know: they’re transparent, accurate and secure.”

The vice chair of the election commission and the only Republican commissioner, Rick Baas, thanked his fellow commissioners for the work they did together, despite party differences.

He said they conducted themselves in a way that wasn’t seen elsewhere across the country. "We did not have yelling, screaming, shouting." Bass said, "We had counsel that could make an articulate argument; we've done the best we can do given the circumstances that we were under.”

Baas said, “We can differ but we will be civilized."

Meanwhile, Trump's campaign appears to be preparing a court challenge to change the election's outcome, but his window to sue is narrow. The deadline to certify the vote is Tuesday. Certification is done by the Democratic chair of the Wisconsin Election Commission, which is bipartisan.

The Wisconsin Voters Alliance, a conservative group, has already filed a lawsuit against election officials, seeking to block certification of the results. It echoes many of the claims Trump is expected to make.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers' attorneys filed a response to the lawsuit on Friday, calling it a “brazen attack on democracy itself” and asked the state Supreme Court to dismiss it.

Evers, a Democrat, said the group’s lawsuit is a “mishmash of legal distortions” that uses factual misrepresentations in an attempt to take voting rights away from millions of Wisconsin residents. He argues that failing to certify the election results would overturn other election results across the state, throwing the government into chaos.

Trump’s attorneys have targeted absentee ballots where voters identified themselves as “indefinitely confined," allowing them to cast an absentee ballot without showing a photo ID; ballots that have a certification envelope with two different ink colors, indicating a poll worker may have helped complete it; and absentee ballots that don't have a separate written record for its request, such as in-person absentee ballots.

Election officials have counted those ballots during the recount, but marked them as exhibits at the request of the Trump campaign.

Trump’s campaign has already failed elsewhere in court without proof of widespread fraud, which experts widely agree doesn’t exist. Trump legal challenges have failed in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Pennsylvania.

On Monday, the federal government recognized Biden as the “apparent winner” of the Nov. 3 election over Trump. Even though Trump kept up his attacks on the election, he said he is assisting Biden with the transition.

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