Topline

After one Wisconsin county’s recount turned up 132 more votes for opponent Joe Biden, President Trump claimed a small—but ultimately futile—victory on Sunday as a second county’s recount added 45 votes to his tally, leaving the president short on votes and options for continued election challenges.

Key Facts

A recount in Wisconsin’s Dane County completed on Sunday scratched 91 votes from Biden’s column and 46 from Trump’s for a net gain of 45 votes for the president in that Democratic county. 

According to Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell, the majority of the votes that were taken away did not have voter signatures, witness signatures or witness addresses. 

This comes two days after Milwaukee County, the state’s most populous county and another Democratic stronghold, completed the other recount requested by the Trump campaign. 

Biden netted 132 more votes from the Milwaukee County recount largely due to an Election Day tabulator issue which left 386 votes uncounted. 

Altogether the two recounts—which cost the Trump campaign $3 million—slightly increased Biden’s statewide margin to 21,695 votes. 

In both cases, election officials said they found no signs of voter fraud.

Crucial Quote 

After the recount in Milwaukee County concluded, Trump announced on Twitter that he plans to file a lawsuit in Wisconsin early this coming week, when the state Elections Commission is expected to certify the results, claiming his team identified “many illegal votes.” “The Wisconsin recount is not about finding mistakes in the count,” wrote Trump on Saturday. “It is about finding people who have voted illegally, and the case will be brought after the recount is over, on Monday or Tuesday.” 

Key Background 

The Trump campaign has sought to disqualify 238,000 ballots from voters in Dane and Milwaukee counties, alleging that long-standing voting practices in the state, such as early in-person voting, are illegal. This third lawsuit threatened by the president would join two other challenges to the election’s results currently pending before the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Both are requesting the court toss out results and allow the state’s GOP Legislature to decide on  which candidate the state’s electoral votes should be cast for. The conservative-majority court has not yet accepted the cases. The president’s other challenges in battleground states have almost unanimously been batted away by judges. 

Tangent 

Even if Trump did manage to overturn the results in Wisconsin, he would not win the presidency as Biden currently has a total of 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232. 

Further Reading 

“Trump Paid $3 Million For Wisconsin Recount—Biden Has Netted Votes From It” (Forbes)

“Dane County recount shows Biden won Wisconsin, but Trump is planning a lawsuit” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

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