Trump campaign files partial recount, says Milwaukee and Dane counties had 'worst irregularities'
Updated: 6:27 p.m. on Nov. 18, 2020
WISCONSIN (CBS 58) -- Wisconsin's two largest counties are headed for a partial recount.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission announced it received a partial recount petition and a $3 million wire transfer from President Donald Trump's campaign just before 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 18.
"The request is for all of Milwaukee and Dane Counties. No other counties or jurisdictions were requested,” said Meagan Wolfe, Wisconsin’s chief election official. “It was filed in-person in our office today at 10:58 a.m. and appears, upon facial review, to meet all of the requirements in pairing with the payment that was received late yesterday.”
Wolfe further stated, "We understand the eyes of the world will be on these Wisconsin counties over the next few weeks. We remain committed to providing information about the process and assisting our county clerks by providing facts on the mechanics of a recount and status updates."
Trump alleges that Milwaukee and Dane counties were the sites of the "worst irregularities" in the election. Those claims are unfounded.
Democrats say a recount won't change the results, but Republicans disagree.
"Somebody out there does think that that's a possibility otherwise they wouldn't have wire transferred $3 million," said Rick Baas, spokesperson for the Republican Party of Milwaukee County.
Baas said voters deserve confidence in their elections.
"Wisconsin's probably going to be a 50/50 state for a long time, and we want to set an example on how to have a transparent recount as they come up," Baas said.
The Trump campaign's recount petition cites "mistakes and fraud" committed throughout the state of Wisconsin. The president also claims clerks wrongly added missing information on absentee ballots.
"Have you seen any evidence of irregularities in Milwaukee County?" CBS 58's Rose Schmidt asked Baas.
Baas replied, "Have I seen any? No. Do I hear about them? Yes."
But Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett disputed those claims in a media briefing on Wednesday.
"Everybody knows this is an attack on cities, on minorities, on places that historically have voted democratic. Don't let anybody fool you that this is about irregularities. This is flat out an attack on democracy in cities and places where people of color live," Barrett said.
Barrett notes that it's no coincidence that the recounts will take place in the state's two largest democratic strongholds.
"That's 100 percent why they were chosen. Everybody knows that," he said.
Milwaukee's mayor also slammed the president for forcing hundreds if not thousands of people to come the Wisconsin Center for the recount in the middle of a pandemic.
"There probably conservatively will be between 800 and 1000 people in this indoor facility tomorrow, which is exactly the type of events we try to avoid during this pandemic. Exactly the type of super spreader events that Donald Trump loves to have," Barrett said.
Both counties will start the recount Friday and must finish by Dec. 1.
State Senate President-elect Chris Kapenga also told CBS 58 the Legislature is considering bringing in its own independent auditors for the recount.
Here is a timeline for a recount:
Tuesday, November 17, 2020 – The last county canvass is received. There are several counties outstanding, and some have indicated they will not be finished before November 17.
Wednesday, November 18 by 5:00 p.m. – The deadline for the aggrieved presidential candidate to file for a recount and submit payment.
Thursday, November 19, 2020 – The Commission Chair issues the Recount Order. This starts the 13-day recount clock and is also the first day that recount boards can meet.
Saturday, November 21, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. – The deadline by which county boards of canvassers must convene for the recount (no later than 9:00 a.m. on the third day after the recount order is issued).
Tuesday, December 1, 2020 – The deadline to complete the recount. This is also the deadline, under Wisconsin law, for WEC to certify results from the General Election. Therefore, recounts must be completed and results must be filed with WEC by noon on December 1, 2020.
Published: 10 a.m. on Nov. 18, 2020
WISCONSIN (CBS 58) -- President Donald Trump's campaign will file recount in Wisconsin's two largest counties: Milwaukee and Dane.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission said it received a wire transfer from the Trump campaign for $3 million.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission has received a wire transfer from the Trump campaign for $3 million. No petition has been received yet, but the Trump campaign has told WEC staff one will be filed today. We have no further information at this time.— Wisconsin Elections (@WI_Elections) November 18, 2020
“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.”
Recounts in Wisconsin and across the country have historically resulted in very few vote changes. Trump and other Republicans have made claims of fraud and irregularities in the Wisconsin election, without evidence.