Trump watchers obstruct recount, Wisconsin officials say

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MILWAUKEE (AP) – Election officials in the largest county in Wisconsin on Saturday accused observers for President Donald Trump of seeking to obstruct the recount of presidential results, in some cases by opposing all tabulators drawn to count .

Trump has called for the recount in both heavily liberal Milwaukee and Dane counties, hoping to overturn Democrat Joe Biden‘s victory by around 20,600 votes. With no precedent for a recount canceling such a margin, Trump’s strategy is widely seen as aimed at a possible legal challenge, part of a push in key states to reverse his electoral loss.

A constant stream of Republican complaints in Milwaukee was significantly delaying the recount, County Clerk George Christenson said. He said many Trump watchers were breaking the rules by constantly interrupting vote counters with questions and comments.

“It is unacceptable,” he said. He said some of Trump’s watchers “clearly don’t know what they’re doing.”

Tim Posnanski, a county election commissioner, told fellow commissioners there appeared to be two Trump representatives at some tables where tabulators were counting ballots, breaking rules that require one observer from each campaign per table . Posnanski said some of Trump’s representatives appeared to be posing as independents.

At a recount table, a Trump watcher objected to every ballot tabulators pulled out of a bag simply because they were folded, election officials told the panel.

Posnanski called it “prima facie evidence of the bad faith of the Trump campaign.” He later added, “I want to know what’s going on and why there are still obstacles.”

Joe Voiland, a lawyer speaking to members of the commission on behalf of the Trump campaign, denied his side was acting in bad faith. “I want to get to the point of putting everything together… and not yelling at each other,” Voiland said.

At least one Trump observer was escorted out of the building by sheriff’s deputies on Saturday after pushing an election official who lifted his coat from an observer chair. Another Trump watcher was fired on Friday for failing to properly wear a face mask.

Trump paid $ 3 million, as required by state law, for the partial recount which began Friday and is due to end on December 1.

His team seeks to disqualify ballots where election clerks filled in the missing address information on the certification envelope where the ballot is inserted, even though the practice has long been accepted in Wisconsin.

The campaign also alleges that thousands of absent ballots do not have proper written paperwork and that some absent voters have improperly declared themselves “confined indefinitely”, a status that allows them to receive a ballot without a photo ID. . These challenges were dismissed.

There have been at least 31 state election recounts in the United States since the most famous presidential election in Florida in 2000. The recounts have changed the outcome of three races. The three were decided by hundreds of votes, not thousands.