A recount in Wisconsin’s largest county demanded by President Donald Trump’s election campaign ended on Friday with the president-elect, Joe Biden, gaining votes.
After the recount in Milwaukee county, Biden made a net gain of 132 votes, out of nearly 460,000 casts. Overall, the Democrat gained 257 votes to Trump’s 125.
Trump’s campaign had demanded recounts in two of Wisconsin’s most populous and Democratic-leaning counties after he lost Wisconsin to Biden by more than 20,000 votes. The two recounts will cost the Trump campaign $3m. Dane county is expected to finish its recount on Sunday.
Overall, Biden won November’s US presidential election with 306 electoral college votes to Trump’s 232. Biden also leads by more than 6m in the popular vote tally.
After the recount ended, the Milwaukee County clerk, George Christenson, said: “The recount demonstrates what we already know: that elections in Milwaukee county are fair, transparent, accurate and secure.”
The Trump campaign is still expected to mount a legal challenge to the overall result in Wisconsin, but time is running out. The state is due to certify its presidential result on Tuesday.
On Friday, Trump’s legal team suffered yet another defeat when a federal appeals court in Philadelphia rejected the campaign’s latest effort to challenge the state’s election results.
Trump’s lawyers said they would take the case to the supreme court despite the Philadelphia judges’ assessment that the “campaign’s claims have no merit”.
Judge Stephanos Bibas wrote for the three-judge panel: “Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy. Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here.”
Trump continued to maintain without evidence that there was election fraud in the state, tweeting early on Saturday: “The 1,126,940 votes were created out of thin air. I won Pennsylvania by a lot, perhaps more than anyone will ever know.”
Meanwhile, Trump’s baseless claims of electoral fraud in Georgia are increasingly worrying about his own party. Republicans are concerned that the chaos caused by Trump’s stance and his false comments on the conduct of the election in the key swing state, which Biden won for the Democrats, could hinder his party’s efforts to retain control of the Senate.
A runoff for the state’s two Senate seats is scheduled for early January and if the Democrats clinch both seats, it will give them control of the upper house as well as the House of Representatives.
When asked about his previous baseless claims of fraud in Georgia during a Thanksgiving Day press conference, Trump said he was “very worried” about them, saying: “You have a fraudulent system.” He then called the state’s Republican secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, who has defended the state’s election process, an “enemy of the people”.
Such attacks have Republicans worried as they seek to motivate Georgia voters to come to the polls in January, volunteer for their Senate campaigns and perhaps most importantly of all, dig deep into their pockets to pay for the unexpected runoff races.
In particular, Trump’s comments have spurred conspiracy theories that the state’s electoral system is rigged and prompted some of his supporters to make calls for a boycott of the coming vote, something that local Georgia Republicans desperately do not want. “His demonization of Georgia’s entire electoral system is hurting his party’s chances at keeping the Senate,” warned an article published by Politico.
With Reuters and Associated Press