Three-quarters of Wisconsin’s counties have now finished canvassing their election results, and the story remains the same: There was no widespread fraud, nor any significant irregularities in Wisconsin’s election.
“It’s a publicly observable process, so if somebody did recognize a significant change, I’m sure it would be news very quickly,” said Meagan Wolfe, administrator of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, in a Thursday afternoon call with reporters.
The reinforcement of the integrity of the electoral process comes as disinformation about Wisconsin’s election continues to spread, and just two days after the Elections Commission was forced to yet again set the record straight with a five-page press release debunking various myths and lies about the election results.
Wolfe on Thursday said she also was not personally aware of any isolated cases of suspected voter fraud, but cautioned that if any cases come up they would first be reported by local clerks directly to their district attorney for prosecution.
The Elections Commission’s audit of the 2016 general election found just 23 instances of “suspected election fraud, irregularity, or violation” out of about 3 million votes cast; that works out to an irregularity-rate of 0.008%. Even in that audit, former Elections Commission Administrator Michael Haas cautioned the commission was only reporting suspected or possible fraud, not cases in which charges were filed or a conviction was secured.
As of Thursday, 55 of the state’s 72 counties had finished canvassing, a key step in certifying the state’s election results. The Elections Commission is still waiting on some of the state’s largest counties, like Milwaukee and Dane, for their canvassed results.
Canvassing so far has turned up minute changes to vote totals, but nothing has indicated there will be any shift that could erase Biden’s 20,500-vote lead and hand Wisconsin’s electoral votes to President Donald Trump. According to a tally by the Associated Press, Biden lost 51 votes statewide and Trump lost 208 after the current round of canvassing. Trump’s more substantial drop was due to a corrected typo in the results of one ward in Shawano, according to the AP.
“That’s why we canvass, is to try to find issues and to get those correct if there is any kind of problem,” Wolfe said.
The canvassing deadline is Nov. 17, though counties may finish earlier. Trump’s campaign has vowed to request a recount, and it will have until 5 p.m. on the business day after all counties turn in their canvassed results to file for a recount and pay the associated costs upfront. A statewide cost estimate is expected by Monday, Wolfe said.
When the state had a recount in 2016, it cost $2 million, according to Elections Commission spokesman Reid Magney. Wolfe said this year would almost certainly be more expensive due to costs associated with holding a recount during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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