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National News

Trump Now Pushing for Recount in Wisconsin While Michigan GOP Asks to 'Rescind' Certification

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Trump Now Pushing for Recount in Wisconsin While Michigan GOP Asks to 'Rescind' Certification

2020-11-19 17:01:58

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Donald Trump (Image source: Screenshot)

The Trump campaign is still going strong, despite losing the election a few weeks ago. While initially, the plan was to file lawsuits to change the outcome of the race, now the plan appears to be to delay the vote from being certified as long as possible and try to convince the electoral college to switch their votes to Trump in states where that's allowed.

On Wednesday morning the campaign announced it is filing a petition in Michigan to formally ask election authorities to recount two Wisconsin counties. President-elect Joe Biden won in the state by 20,000 votes.

This is something that has been discussed since the state flipped and went to Biden. The deadline to file for a recount was 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The campaign repeated the same tired claims of voter fraud Trump has been shouting about throughout. A statement cited the reason for the recount as being "illegally altered absentee ballots, illegally issued absentee ballots, and illegal advice given by government officials allowing Wisconsin voter ID laws to be circumvented." There has been no evidence produced of illegal ballots anywhere in the country.

Trump and his campaign are asking for recounts in Milwaukee and Dane counties, alleging the most irregularities in those counties. Biden's largest vote gain over 2016's race with Hillary Clinton was in Dane County, picking up 35,000 more votes than the former secretary of state.

Wisconsin state law allows a losing candidate who is behind by 1% to file a sworn petition and pay for the recount. The state will only pay for it if the candidate is losing by 0.25% or less.

Wisconsin Elections Commissioner Dean Knudson tweeted Wednesday morning that the state received $3 million from the Trump campaign yet hadn't received the petition yet.

The state's nonpartisan top election official, Meagan Wolfe, said in a November 10 statement that the election "was conducted according to law and in the open."

Regardless, the recount likely won't lead to a change in results. Typically, recounts change dozens of votes, perhaps even hundreds. The recount would need to flip tens of thousands of votes to change things for Trump. Even if it miraculously turned the state red, Biden would still be above the 270 electoral vote threshold.

The campaign is working this in more than just Wisconsin. There's a fight going on in Michigan. Two county GOP officials switched their vote to certify the vote for Biden. Trump called one of the officials after this, and she then asked to "rescind" her certification vote.

On Tuesday the Wayne County  which includes Detroit  officials voted to certify the election results. Initially, the vote was 2 to 2, but the Republicans later changed their votes, and the results were certified.

"I did receive a call from President Trump late Tuesday evening after the meeting," said Republican Monica Palmer. "He was checking in to make sure I was safe after hearing the threats and doxing that had occurred."

In addition to the call, Trump invited leaders from Michigan's GOP-majority state legislature to meet with him on Friday in Washington, according to a person familiar with the plans.

What's at play are Michigan's 16 electoral votes. If the state's board of canvassers do not certify a winner, the legislature could step in to award the votes. This is not even a close race, however. Biden is leading by more than 148,000 votes. The state's board of canvassers is holding a hearing on Monday to certify the results.

Palmer and the other Republican official, William Hartmann, signed affidavits on Wednesday evening stating that they were improperly pressured into certifying the election. They also accused Democrats of reneging on a promise to audit ballots in Detroit, the reason they agreed to vote to certify the results.

Palmer maintains there was nothing untoward in her conversation with Trump and that he only called her out of sincere concern for her safety. She said they only talked for about two minutes and that she felt no pressure to change her vote.

Regardless of the affidavits and the request to "rescind" the certification, the board's vice chairman, Democrat Jonathan Kinloch, said it's too late for these efforts. The certified results have been sent to the secretary of state in accordance with state rules.

"Do they understand how they are making us look as a body?" he queried regarding the GOP efforts. "We have such an amazing and important role in the democratic process, and they're turning it on its head."

The Secretary of State's Office said the decision is now out of their hands as well. 

"There is no legal mechanism for them to rescind their vote," said Tracy Wimmer, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D). "Their job is done, and the next step in the process is for the Board of State Canvassers to meet and certify."

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