Trump campaign gearing up for legal challenge

MADISON (WKOW) -- On the third day of the recount of 2020 election results in Madison, the Dane County clerk said there were fewer objections, allowing the pace to pick up. Still, requests from a lawyer for the Trump campaign indicated the president's legal team was preparing to challenge the validity of more than 60,000 absentee votes in the county.

Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell said his biggest takeaway Sunday was having fewer objections to individual ballots throughout the day, allowing counters to get back on track to finish their tally of more than 340,000 ballots by the December 1 deadline.

"We have kind of worked out some of the rules of the game, developed some improvements on how we're processing them," McDonell said. "The number of objections has really dropped."

McDonell said early into the recount on Saturday, Trump observers objected ballots for reasons such as a voter not making a selection for president or ballots having a crease from being folded. McDonell said once the county's board of canvassers made clear such objections would not stand, the process moved more quickly.

"I think there was a learning curve for everybody and the ability to communicate to the observers, and there's a lot of them, it's hard to communicate," McDonell said. "What really is of interest has improved each day."

Early Sunday morning, Jim Troupis, a lawyer for the Trump campaign with an office in Middleton,sought out specific totalsfor the amount of voters who cast their ballots using early in-person voting. The board rejected a previous request from the campaign to throw out all of those ballots.

Troupis also sought data on how many voters mailed in absentee ballots but had no corresponding written request for an absentee ballot. The Trump campaign also wants to toss out the votes from those who identified as "indefinitely confined," which kept them from having to provide a photo ID.

"They're looking to toss out about 67,000 ballots in Dane County," McDonell said.

McDonell said Troupis' effort to collect the information indicated the campaign was considering going to court to invalidate those ballots. An attorney for the Biden campaign objected to Troupis' actions, saying his request amounted to prep work for a court case, something she said was inappropriate conduct during a recount.

McDonell said there were a "handful" of ballots drawn down, or tossed out, Saturday and Sunday because they did not have signatures on the envelope from the voter and/or the witness.

"We have seen some envelopes where the voter did not sign the outside of the envelope and yet it was open and counted -- you can't do that," McDonell said. "So we would draw down a ballot because we don't know whose ballot it was anymore at that point; they're all mixed together."

McDonell said there were about two ballots being rejected for every thousand or so through the first two days. President-elect Joe Biden had about 20,000 more votes in Wisconsin than President Trump when the recount began in Dane and Milwaukee counties.

"It'll add up to 40-50 (total ballots tossed out), maybe more," McDonell said. "But not enough to change any results of the election."

McDonell said counters had already finished some towns and villages, including Verona, by Sunday night. The City of Madison was the last municipality whose ballots are counted; McDonell said he was hopeful that count could begin Tuesday and be completed by next Sunday.

More at WKOW 27 News

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