The third closest Presidential election in Wisconsin in the last twenty years was concluded within about 15 hours of the polls closing on November 3rd. Unofficial results show former Vice President Joe Biden defeating President Donald Trump by 20,539 votes. The official statewide canvass of the votes is currently taking place and must be concluded by November 17th. Then, the Trump campaign can formally request a recount of the votes.
Voter turnout in Wisconsin for this election was the highest it has been since 2004 at just over 72 percent. More than 3.2 million of Wisconsin’s 3.6 million registered voters cast ballots either utilizing absentee ballots or by voting in-person early or on November 3rd. Voter turnout in 2016 was 67.3 percent.
This level of voter participation is remarkable and even astonishing, coming as it did in the midst of the most infectious and deadly pandemic and health emergency occurring in the state and the nation in over a hundred years.
And, by every indication and measure that we have been able to determine thus far, this election in Wisconsin was conducted without any of the problems or threats that were anticipated by some, or which occurred in some past elections. According to the Wisconsin Elections Commission and to all objective observers of the electoral process, there were few problems or evidence of any election malfeasance, fraud, or voter intimidation and harassment on or before November 3rd.
In short, this was a remarkably smooth, problem-free election characterized by very high voter participation and interest throughout most of Wisconsin.
And yet, without any proof or evidence whatsoever, there have been wildly speculative, baseless and completely false assertions by some that voting fraud and malfeasance resulted in Trump finishing some 20,000 votes behind Biden. It must be noted that there were no such baseless assertions made in 2016 when Trump finished about 23,000 votes ahead of Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin.
Even more alarmingly, some elected officials in Wisconsin have, without evidence, suggested there were voter “irregularities” in Milwaukee, a thinly-veiled racial smear and have even gone so far as to suggest that the Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature should control how the state’s Electoral College delegates cast their votes for President, regardless of the will of the voters of the state. This is illegal. In Wisconsin, the state legislature plays no role in certifying or deciding which slate of electors vote in the electoral college.
We have many of you to thank for helping so much to make this election a relatively trouble-free and safe exercise of the democratic process! CC/WI was extremely busy in the weeks leading up to November 3rd to inform voters about what they needed to vote by absentee ballot and in-person, and to ready voters before they cast their ballot.
CC/WI also helped to recruit nearly 1,000 volunteers through Protect the Vote in Wisconsin for various election-related activities, including volunteers who called or texted voters to assist with registration and answer questions, poll monitors on Election Day, social media monitors to watch and report false and misleading election posts, in-area volunteers to support the Voter Helpline and assisted with taking voters to DMVs to get free IDs or be a witness to sign the absentee ballot envelope for voters. We also helped recruit lawyers to staff the Election Protection Hotline (1-888-Our-Vote) which is a service voters could use before and on Election Day to report any problems and concerns with voting.
This was a spectacular, all hands on deck effort by so many of you to bring about an election in Wisconsin that we can be proud of. But we need to be on guard against those who seek to undermine it, and who want to impose their own political will over that of the voters.