Poll workers prepare absentee ballots at Franklin's central count facility. Franklin is located in southwest Milwaukee County. Photo by David Wise, Nov. 3, 2020.

Both Joe Biden and President Trump picked up four votes as canvasses from four more counties trickled in Thursday.

The state Elections Commission website as of 7:15 a.m. showed updates from Forrest, Jefferson, Juneau and Walworth counties. Biden has picked up 120 votes through the county-level certification process while Trump has added 39.

Overall, 59 of the state’s 72 counties have finished certifying results tallied on election night by municipalities. Canvasses from some of the most populous counties in the state — including Dane, Milwaukee, Kenosha and Waukesha — remain outstanding. Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe told reporters yesterday some counties will take up until Tuesday’s deadline to complete their canvass.

Wolfe also said the fluctuations between unofficial election night results and those certified by counties in the canvass process are standard in elections.

“There are always certainly minor errors, but… it’s not going to change the outcome of any given election,” she said.

One minor error, Wolfe said, came from a municipal clerk missing a military ballot on election night. Ballots can be sent electronically to members of the military and their families.

The ballot was received by the deadline of 8 p.m. on Nov. 3 but came in an “irregular” envelope, leading local officials to miss it in their initial tally.

Wolfe also said human error plays a role.

She said a large percentage of municipalities are so small they don’t use tabulating equipment and count ballots by hand. While those jurisdictions only represent around 5 percent of ballots cast in the state, Wolfe said “you can also see human errors in that as well.”

The largest deviation between the results certified in the canvass and unofficial results from election night so far was also a case of human error. In Shawano County, Clerk Pamela Schmidt said a municipality initially reported 636 votes for Trump on election night. But the correct number was 362. It appeared to be a data entry mistake, she said.

“This is why we canvass, this is why we triple check the numbers — is to make sure we get every last one right,” Wolfe said.

She also noted the canvass process is where counties add provisional ballots to the tally. Those are ballots that are filled out on election day but can’t be processed for a number of reasons, including the voter forgetting to bring photo ID to the polling station. The state issued 336 such ballots in last week’s election and voters had until 4 p.m on Nov. 6 to correct the issue.

See the WEC’s unofficial numbers:
https://elections.wi.gov/node/7234

See the county canvass submissions:
https://elections.wi.gov/node/7239

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