Trump Camp Seeks Recounts In WI Counties With Largest Black Populations

MILWAUKEE, WI OCTOBER 20: Voters take to the polls to cast their ballot for the Nov. election during early voting in Wisconsin at the Clinton Rose senior Center, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020 Milwaukee. (Darren Hauck for T... MILWAUKEE, WI OCTOBER 20: Voters take to the polls to cast their ballot for the Nov. election during early voting in Wisconsin at the Clinton Rose senior Center, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020 Milwaukee. (Darren Hauck for The Washington Post via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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November 18, 2020 12:34 p.m.

The Trump campaign is seeking recounts in Wisconsin’s Milwaukee and Dane counties, which are home to the first and second largest Black populations in the state.

The campaign announced the partial recount request shortly after the Wisconsin Election Commission indicated that it had received a $3 million wire transfer from the campaign. A recount of the entire state would have cost the cash-strapped campaign $7.9 million.

In the state’s initial tally, Biden leads Trump in Wisconsin by more than 20,000 votes.

The campaign said it would be filing a formal petition for the recounts later Wednesday. Under Wisconsin law, any race where the margin is 1 percent or below is eligible for a recount petition, but only in contests where the margin is .25 percent or less will taxpayers foot the bill for the recount.

Milwaukee, where more than 460,000 total ballots were cast, gave Biden the lead over Trump in the state in the early hours of the Wednesday after the election, as the ballots were being tallied.

The state’s shift blue as ballots continued to be tallied has since been the subject of several conspiracy theories that have been pushed by Trump and his allies, even as their lawsuits alleging election improprieties have gotten nowhere.

In the press release announcing the recount requests, the campaign made several baseless claims that the counties’ election officials “illegally altered absentee ballots, illegally issued absentee ballots, and illegal advice given by government officials allowing Wisconsin’s Voter ID laws to be circumvented.”

“These two counties were selected because they are the locations of the worst irregularities,” the release said.

The counties are the two largest in the state and also among its most racially diverse.

Milwaukee’s 240,000-plus African American residents make up two-thirds of the state’s total African American population. Dane County also has a sizable minority community and is home to the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Altogether, the unofficial tallies of Milwaukee and Dane counties provided 577,408 votes for Biden and 213,133 for Trump, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The claims that the campaign is making about the election administration in those two counties are very similar to what was alleged in a federal lawsuit that was brought to exclude their counts from Wisconsin’s presidential results. The lawsuit was spearheaded by a conservative group known for making false claims about voter fraud. The challengers in the lawsuit, a group of individual voters, sought to have the lawsuit dismissed earlier this week, just before a hearing in the case was to occur.

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