In an election decided in Wisconsin by about 20,000 votes, President Donald Trump wants to throw out more than 200,000 ballots.
The Trump campaign is seeking to disqualify 238,420 ballots cast during the Nov. 3 election between Dane and Milwaukee counties, according to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel analysis – an effort that has been unsuccessful so far as part of recounts in both counties but could end up in court. Milwaukee County’s recount concluded Friday, with Democrat Joe Biden increasing his net margin of victory over Trump by 132 votes out of nearly 460,000 cast. The Dane County recount is expected to conclude Sunday.
The ballots Trump is seeking to disqualify affect voters who cast absentee ballots in person, known as early voting, and residents who identify themselves as “indefinitely confined,” allowing them to vote absentee without meeting the state photo ID requirements. The Trump campaign argues voters who cast absentee ballots in person should be disqualified because the ballots did not include separate applications and that many more people claimed to be indefinitely confined than exist.
Now, the affected voters face losing their voice in the election after following state guidance that was promoted widely, including by the president who at an Oct. 17 rally in Janesville told the crowd “early voting begins on Tuesday so get out and vote.” “I think they’re trying to take our votes away,” said Mose Fuller, a pastor at St. Timothy Community Baptist Church on Milwaukee’s north side. “I personally think they are destroying the whole concept of what democracy is all about. It’s an unpatriotic and un-American thing that they’re trying to do.”
Fuller, 69, cast an absentee ballot in person at Milwaukee’s Midtown polling location, a voting center located among predominantly Black neighborhoods. “I made a conscious decision to vote early. I want my vote to count, period,” Fuller said. “I’ve been following the recount and I don’t agree with it. It’s another way of people who are in power to just simply try to overturn the vote.”
But fellow early voter Perfecto Rivera disagrees.
Rivera, who sits on the executive board of the Republican Party of Milwaukee County, said he had no confidence in how the election was conducted in Wisconsin and believed Trump had won. Rivera said he wanted to see large numbers of ballots thrown out — including his own.