Trump watchers obstruct recount, Wisconsin officials say

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MILWAUKEE (AP) — Election officials in Wisconsin’s largest county on Saturday accused President Donald Trump’s watchers of seeking to obstruct a recount of presidential results, in some cases by opposing all ballot tabulators of votes drawn to count.

Trump called for the recount in Milwaukee and Dane counties, both heavily liberal, hoping to undo Democrat Joe Biden’s victory by about 20,600 votes. Unprecedented for a recount reversing by such a large margin, Trump’s strategy is widely seen as aiming for a possible legal challenge, part of a push in key states to reverse his election defeat.

A steady stream of Republican complaints in Milwaukee was delaying the recount, county clerk George Christenson said. He said many Trump watchers are breaking the rules by constantly interrupting vote counters with questions and comments.

“It’s 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 that there appeared to be two Trump representatives at some tables where tabulators were counting ballots, violating rules that require an observer from each campaign per table. . Posnanski said some Trump representatives appeared to be posing as independents.

At a recount table, a Trump watcher objected to every ballot the tabulators pulled from a bag simply because it was folded, election officials told the panel.

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

Joe Voiland, an attorney speaking to committee members on behalf of the Trump campaign, denied that his side was acting in bad faith. “I want to get to the point of dialing it all down…and not yelling at it,” Voiland said.

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

Trump paid $3 million, as required by state law, for the partial recount that began Friday and must be completed by Dec. 1.

His team seeks to disqualify ballots where election clerks have filled in 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 mail-in ballots lack proper written papers and that some absentee voters have wrongly declared themselves “confined indefinitely,” a status that allows them to receive a ballot without paperwork. identification with photo. These challenges were dismissed.

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

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