Biden narrowly wins Wisconsin; Trump to call for a recount

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Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

An election worker takes a break Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020 in Milwaukee at a central counting facility. Election officials expected to count absentee ballots until the early morning hours. (AP Photo/Stephen Groves)

MADISON, Wis. – Democrat Joe Biden narrowly won battleground state Wisconsin on Wednesday, edging out President Donald Trump in a state that was crucial to the incumbent’s victory four years ago.

The Associated Press called the race for Biden after election officials said all outstanding ballots had been counted, save for a few hundred in one township and a small number of provisional ballots around the state. The former vice president’s lead there is now so great that there is no way that the remaining votes would allow Trump to catch up.

Trump’s campaign said it planned to call for a recount, which a trailing candidate is allowed to do under state law if a race is within 1 percentage point. Statewide recounts in Wisconsin have historically changed the vote tally by only a few hundred votes. Biden leads by 0.624 percentage points out of nearly 3.3 million ballots counted.

Bill Stepien, Trump’s campaign manager claimed there were “reports of irregularities in several counties” and pointed to a report about a printing error on up to 13,500 ballots that required them to be duplicated on Election Day so tabulation machines could count them. Trump carried the counties where that occurred by 10 points and 19 points.

Election officials had asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to allow them to fill in the ballot misprint with a black mark so the tabulation machines could read them, but the court refused. That required the ballots in Outagamie and Calumet counties to be duplicated by hand on Election Day.

By Wednesday, the ballots, duplicated under the supervision of poll watchers and the assistance of members of the Wisconsin National Guard, had been counted, said Outagamie County Clerk Lori O'Bright.

Meagan Wolfe, the state’s top elections official, did not directly address the Trump campaign’s claim of irregularities. She defended the state’s election system, noting that a recount of the 2016 presidential result showed no widespread problems and resulted in only a few hundred votes changing.

“I believe that would be the case if we had a recount again in our state. You would find that we have a really solid system here,” Wolfe said.