Milwaukee (AP) – Election officials in Wisconsin’s largest county accused President Donald Trump’s observers on Saturday of trying to obstruct the counting of presidential results, in some cases by objecting to all tablature tabs drawn for the count.
Trump called for a countdown in Milwaukee and Dane counties, both highly liberal, in hopes of reversing Democrat Joe Biden’s victory by about 20,600 votes. With no precedent for a census that reverses such a large margin, Trump’s strategy is widely seen as aimed at possible litigation, part of the pressure in key countries to undo his election loss.
The steady stream of Republican complaints in Milwaukee lagged the countdown far behind schedule, said District Officer George Christenson. He said many Trump observers were breaking the rules by constantly interrupting vote counters with questions and comments.
Tim Posnansky, the district election commissioner, told his colleagues that there appear to be two Trump officials at some tables, where tabs count the ballots, violating the rules that require one observer from each table campaign. Posnanski said some Trump officials appear to be posing as independents.
At a recount table, a Trump observer objected to any ballots the tabs pulled out of the bag simply because they were folded, the commission said.
Posnanski called it “prima facie evidence of dishonesty in the Trump campaign.” He later added: “I want to know what is happening and why there are still obstacles.”
Joe Woyland, a lawyer who spoke to commission members on behalf of Trump’s campaign, denied his country was acting in bad faith.
“I want to get to the point where you dial everything … and don’t scream,” Woyland said.
At least one Trump observer was taken out of the building by sheriff’s deputies on Saturday after pushing an election official who had lifted his coat from an observer’s chair. Another Trump observer was removed on Friday because he was not wearing a face mask properly.
Trump paid $ 3 million, as required by state law, for the partial census, which began on Friday and must be completed by December 1.
His team is trying to disqualify ballots where election officials fill in missing address information in the envelope where the ballot is placed, although the practice has long been accepted in Wisconsin.
The campaign also claims that thousands of absent ballots do not have proper written documents and that some absent voters have incorrectly declared themselves “indefinitely”, a status that allows them to receive the ballot without a photo ID. These challenges were rejected.
There have been at least 31 re-counts of US state elections since the most famous in the 2000 Florida presidential election. All three were decided by hundreds of votes, not thousands.