AG Kaul: Recount shows election was secure, accuses Trump campaign of ‘Jim Crow strategy’

Election workers continue the Dane Co. presidential recount on Friday, November 27, 2020.
Election workers continue the Dane Co. presidential recount on Friday, November 27, 2020.
Published: Nov. 30, 2020 at 11:39 AM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The recently completed presidential recounts in Dane Co. and Milwaukee Co. demonstrated Wisconsin’s general election was conducted “professionally and securely,” state Attorney General Josh Kaul said in a statement Monday morning.

“The truth is that our election system has integrity and that, amid a pandemic, Wisconsin’s hard-working election officials conducted a safe and fair election,” he said.

Kaul went on to allege the campaign for President Donald Trump of knowing before the recount started that the results were not going to change much, unless the president’s supporters could get election rules changed after the fact.

Trump campaign spokeswoman Jenna Ellis said in a statement that the Wisconsin recounts have “revealed serious issues” about whether the ballots were legal, but she offered no specific details to validate her claim.

“As we have said from the very beginning, we want every legal vote, and only legal votes to be counted, and we will continue to uphold our promise to the American people to fight for a free and fair election,” Ellis said.

With no precedent for overturning a result as large as Wisconsin’s, Trump was widely expected to head to court once the recount was finished. With Milwaukee Co. having already certified its recount and Dane Co. set to do so Monday afternoon, the latest vote totals showed President Trump, who spent $3 million on the initiative, lost 132 net votes in the former and gained 45 votes in the latter. Combined, he lost 87 votes, leaving continues to trail President-elect Joe Biden by approximately 20,000 total votes.

His campaign challenged thousands of absentee ballots during the recount, and even before it was complete, Trump tweeted that he would sue.

“The Wisconsin recount is not about finding mistakes in the count, it is about finding people who have voted illegally, and that case will be brought after the recount is over, on Monday or Tuesday,” Trump tweeted on Saturday. “We have found many illegal votes. Stay tuned!”

The Democratic attorney general accused Trump’s camp targeted Wisconsin’s two largest counties because the changes the campaign sought would have likely meant thousands of votes in those two counties would be tossed, while counties where recounts didn’t occur would not be affected.

Noting that Dane and Milwaukee counties, both of which went heavily for President-elect Joe Biden, are home to a majority of the state’s Black residents, Kaul described the campaign’s moves a “Jim Crow strategy for mass disenfranchisement.”

“An election isn’t a game of gotcha,” he added.

Calling the foundations for the president’s challenges “baseless attacks,” the attorney general contended the efforts also undermines Americans’ faith in their elected government and allows the election to be used as propaganda by the country’s adversaries.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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