Why is President Trump pursuing recount of 2 Wisconsin counties?

US President Donald Trump filed Wednesday for a recount of Wisconsin’s two largest Democratic counties, paying the required $3 million cost and alleging that they were the sites of the “worst irregularities” although no evidence of illegal activity has been presented. The recounts in Milwaukee and Dane counties will begin on Friday and must be done by December 1.

Democrat Joe Biden received 577,455 votes in these two counties compared with 213,157 for Trump. Biden won statewide by 20,608 votes, based on canvassed results submitted by the counties.

What is the voter composition of the counties?

Milwaukee County is Wisconsin’s largest county, home to the city of Milwaukee, and Black people make up about 27% of the population, more than any other county. Dane County is home to the liberal capital city of Madison and the flagship University of Wisconsin campus.

Why has the Trump campaign asked for a recount?

Trump’s campaign has made a variety of claims including that clerks wrongly added missing information on returned absentee ballots. The campaign is also alleging that thousands of voters improperly got around Wisconsin’s photo ID requirement by claiming they were indefinitely confined and therefore didn’t have to present a photo ID in order to return their absentee ballot. The Trump campaign also alleges that local election clerks issued absentee ballots to voters without requiring an application, in violation of state law. Thus according to them, 60,000 votes were cast by people who didn’t submit a written application, but offered no evidence. Trump also claimed that observers in Milwaukee were kept too far away to observe the counting of ballots.

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What has the Wisconsin Elections commission said about Trump’s claims?

The Wisconsin Elections Commission said that clerks can fix missing witness address components on the envelopes that contain absentee ballots if they have reliable information and this rule has been in place since 2016. The elections commission also said that there were no corrections to actual absentee ballots contained inside the envelopes. Refuting Trump campaign’s photo ID claim, the commission said that Wisconsin law requires all voters to show an acceptable photo ID to vote both in person and by mail. It does provide exceptions for citizens who are indefinitely confined because of age, physical illness or infirmity or are disabled for an indefinite period.

What have the Democrats said about the recount?

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a Democrat, called the recount “an attack on cities, on minorities, on places that have historically voted Democratic. Don’t let anyone fool you that this is about irregularities.”

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