President Donald Trump’s campaign paid $3 million to recount the votes cast in Milwaukee and Dane counties, two areas in Wisconsin that helped President-elect Joe Biden win the state by almost 21,000 votes. In at least one of those counties, Trump’s campaign spent all that cash to only solidify Biden’s victory. By the end of the recount in Milwaukee County, Biden’s total had increased by 257 votes, from 317,270 to 317,527. Trump also saw an increase in votes, boosting his total by 125 votes to 134,482.
Officials in the city of Milwaukee found 386 unopened absentee ballots during the recount. Authorities voted in favor of opening and counting all those votes. The ballots weren’t counted initially due to “human error.”
“I promised that this would be a transparent and fair process, and it was,” Milwaukee County Clerk George Christenson said. “There was an examination of every ballot by election workers, a meticulous recounting of every ballot that was properly cast, a transparent process that allowed the public to observe, a fair process that allows the aggrieved candidate who sought the recount an opportunity to observe and object to ballots they believe should not be counted.”
In Dane County, Trump has gained 68 votes over Biden but the recount there isn’t expected to finish until Sunday. All recounts in the state have to end by Tuesday, which is the deadline to certify the results in the state. But the recounts appear to be part of a broader strategy by the Trump campaign to set the stage for a lawsuit challenging the results of the election in Wisconsin. According to an analysis by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Trump campaign is seeking to throw out 238,420 ballots case in Dane and Milwaukee counties. Specifically, Trump is seeking to disqualify absentee ballots that were cast in person, which is known as early voting, and the votes of those who identified themselves as “indefinitely confined,” which allowed them to cast absentee ballots without the photo ID requirements of the state.
Support work like this for just $1
Slate is covering the stories that matter to you. Become a Slate Plus member to support our work. Your first month is only $1.