Ballots are stored in boxes and bags as workers recount Milwaukee County's ballots at the Wisconsin Center. Photo by Adam Kelnhofer, WisPolitics.com, Nov. 23, 2020.

Editor’s note: This advisory has been corrected to reflect Joe Biden adding 257 votes and Donald Trump adding 125 votes.

Milwaukee County today tentatively wrapped up its recount effort, though the city of Milwaukee’s top election official says 65 ballots were still missing from a ward on the city’s south side.

Still, the county Election Commission unanimously approved a motion from Dem Chair Tim Posnanski to complete the Milwaukee recount using the 23 ballots from Ward 254 that election officials have on hand out of the 88 that were cast on Election Day.

The results from the state’s most populous county show Joe Biden added 257 votes while Donald Trump added 125 over the totals submitted to the state Elections Commission after the county canvass process. After the canvass of all 72 counties, Biden’s lead over Trump sat at 20,608 votes.

Over the course of the recount, the Trump campaign legal team objected to 25,168 ballots where the voter marked themself as indefinitely confined and 2,197 ballot envelopes cured in more than one color of ink. The campaign also objected to all 14,869 absentee ballots from Oak Creek because the clerk from that municipality failed to segregate envelopes from indefinitely confined voters from those with more than one color ink, a sign that a local election official may have “cured” a missing voter or witness address. Other municipalities in Milwaukee County segregated those envelopes.

The legal team also objected to all 108,947 in-person absentee ballots in Milwaukee County, all 51,060 votes where the voters marked themselves as indefinitely confined and as a separate objection, 19,588 absentee ballots from indefinitely confined voters that were applied for after March 25.

Rick Baas, the sole Republican on the county Board of Canvassers, told WisPolitics.com he believes none of the objections made by the Trump campaign have been sustained by the county board. The objections could hint at the legal strategy the Trump campaign could pursue in the courts.

After the recount in both counties is complete, county officials are required to immediately forward the results and minutes of the recount to the state Elections Commission. The Trump campaign has five days from the completion of the recount to launch an appeal in circuit court.

The state Elections Commission is tentatively scheduled to meet on Tuesday to certify election results.  WEC Administrator Meagan Wolfe told reporters earlier this month Dem Chair Ann Jacobs has sole authority over certifying those results.

Officials in Milwaukee County thought they had found the missing ballots from Ward 254 on Wednesday. But City of Milwaukee Election Commission Executive Director Claire Woodall-Vogg told the county Board of Canvassers the documents election workers found in an election commission warehouse were actually training ballots used to prepare employees to use the tabulating machines. 

She said election workers will still search for the missing ballots through Tuesday. 

“It’s really important to me that we try to find them and continue to search for them and bring — if we were to find them — those to the board’s attention and ask them to reconvene,” she said. 

Meanwhile, in Dane County, tabulators have counted 222,574 ballots, or 64 percent of the total, as of this morning. Officials took off yesterday to observe the Thanksgiving holiday. 

County Clerk Scott McDonell in a tweet today said the city of Madison, the sole municipality still being counted, is about 7.65 percent done and that he expects to wrap things up by Sunday. 

On the legal front, the state Elections Commission is alleging a suit filed Tuesday by a GOP-aligned group seeking to invalidate the results of the election and allow the Republican-controlled state Legislature to appoint the state’s Electoral College electors amounts to “a brazen attack on democracy itself.”

A brief led by Dem AG Josh Kaul slammed the Wisconsin Voters Alliance suit, charging the plaintiffs were “offering up a mishmash of legal distortions, factual misrepresentations and a facially absurd supposed ‘expert’ analysis by a partisan actor.”

Gov. Tony Evers, a host of prominent conservatives including former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, the city of Milwaukee and the Wisconsin NAACP each filed amicus briefs urging the state Supreme Court to reject the case.

The high court has not decided if it will take the case.

See the data recount data published by WEC here.

See more on the post-recount process here. 

See the WEC filing here.

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