Trump Files Lawsuit to Toss 220K Votes in Milwaukee, Dane Counties



By Jonathon Sadowski

December 1, 2020

Outgoing president makes his latest attack on the election as he tries to cling to power.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday morning filed a lawsuit asking the Wisconsin Supreme Court to throw out more than 220,000 votes cast in the presidential election in Milwaukee and Dane counties and block the state’s certification of the election.

Trump’s “Hail Mary” legal effort comes a day after Gov. Tony Evers and Wisconsin Elections Commission Chairwoman Ann Jacobs officially confirmed President-elect Joe Biden’s win in Wisconsin and two days after Milwaukee and Dane counties completed a recount that confirmed Biden’s roughly 20,500-vote margin of victory. 

The president’s lawsuit joins two others in challenging the election’s results, but it stops short of asking for the entire election to be thrown out like the others do. Instead, it targets specific categories of votes in the state’s two most populous and Democratic counties.

“Honestly, I’m embarrassed for the president,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, adding, “He lost, and his ego can’t take that.”

Trump’s legal team is specifically looking to toss: 170,140 in-person absentee ballots that did not have a separate written application (in fact, ballot envelopes count as applications for early in-person voting); 5,517 absentee ballots where clerks “cured” the envelopes (curing is a legal, common practice); 28,395 absentee ballots where voters claimed the “indefinitely confined” status (state law leaves it up to the voter to consider themselves indefinitely confined or not); and 17,271 absentee ballots returned to clerks in Madison at ballot collection events.

That adds up to 221,323 ballots the campaign hopes to throw out in a last-ditch effort to deliver Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes to Trump.

Trump’s team claimed the ballots were “improperly included” in the recount of Dane and Milwaukee counties.

“This case seeks to disenfranchise over 200,000 Wisconsinites,” Attorney General Josh Kaul said in a statement on the filing. “It doesn’t claim that a single one of those voters was ineligible to vote in Wisconsin. Instead, it seeks to establish a two-tiered system for votes cast in the presidential election, with citizens from two of our counties subject to disenfranchisement under much stricter rules than citizens in the rest of the state.”

In a Tuesday call with reporters, Evers brushed off the lawsuit.

“I believe that the lawsuit filed by the president of the United States has no merit,” Evers said.

The legal challenge was not unexpected. It was an open secret that the recount effort was a front for a lawsuit.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court ordered the defendants—Evers, the Elections Commission, and the Dane and Milwaukee county clerks and boards of canvassers—to respond by 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.

This story has been updated to include comments from officials and the Supreme Court’s order that the defendants respond.




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