US President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory in the battleground states of Wisconsin and Arizona was confirmed following a partial recount in Wisconsin that added to Biden’s margin and certification of results in Arizona.
In certifying the Arizona results, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, and Governor Doug Ducey, a Republican, defended the integrity of Arizona’s election.
“We do elections well here in Arizona. The system is strong,” Ducey said, even as lawyers for President Donald Trump were arguing without evidence to Arizona Republican legislators that the United States’s election was marred by fraud.
Biden won Arizona by 0.3 percent of the nearly 3.4 million ballots cast, a margin of just under 10,500 votes. He is only the second Democrat in 70 years to win the state.
Later on Monday, Trump attacked the Republican governor’s actions and claimed Ducey was “rushing to put a Democrat in office”.
Why is he rushing to put a Democrat in office, especially when so many horrible things concerning voter fraud are being revealed at the hearing going on right now. @OANN What is going on with @dougducey? Republicans will long remember! https://t.co/XILGaHcyw7
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 30, 2020
Biden’s victory in Wisconsin was certified after a partial recount that added to his 20,600-vote margin over Trump, who has to file a lawsuit challenging the results.
Governor Tony Evers, a Democrat, signed a certificate that completed the process after the canvass report showing Biden as the winner following the recount was approved by the chairwoman of the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission. Evers’ signature was required by law and is typically a procedural step that receives little attention.
“Today I carried out my duty to certify the November 3rd election,” Evers said in a statement. “I want to thank our clerks, election administrators, and poll workers across our state for working tirelessly to ensure we had a safe, fair, and efficient election. Thank you for all your good work.”
Confirmation of the results by the Wisconsin Elections Commission starts a five-day window for Trump to file a promised lawsuit, a long-shot attempt to overturn the results by disqualifying as many as 238,000 ballots.
Biden’s campaign has said the recount showed that Biden won Wisconsin decisively and there was no fraud. Even if Trump were successful in Wisconsin, giving the state’s 10 Electoral College votes to Trump would not be enough to undo Biden’s overall victory.
“There’s no basis at all for any assertion that there was widespread fraud that would have affected the results,” Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, a Democrat, said in a statement.
With the recount of the presidential election complete, there remains no question that, as usual, Wisconsin’s general election was conducted professionally & securely. There’s no basis at all for any assertion that there was widespread fraud that would have affected the results.
— Attorney General Josh Kaul (@WisDOJ) November 30, 2020
Kaul noted that Trump’s recount was only focused on the state’s two most populous counties where the majority of Black people live.
“I have every confidence that this disgraceful Jim Crow strategy for mass disenfranchisement of voters will fail,” he said.
“An election isn’t a game of gotcha.”
Trump’s legal challenges have failed in other battleground states, including Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Pennsylvania.
Two lawsuits from others seeking to disqualify ballots in Wisconsin were filed last week with the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which has not taken action.
Trump paid $3m for recounts in Dane and Milwaukee counties, the two largest Democratic counties in Wisconsin, but the recount ended up increasing Biden’s lead by 87 votes.
Trump, during the Wisconsin recount, sought to have ballots discarded where election clerks filled in missing address information on the certification envelope where the ballot is inserted.
The state elections commission told clerks before the election that they could fill in missing information on the absentee ballot envelopes, a practice that has been in place for at least the past 11 elections and that no court has ever ruled illegal.
Trump also challenged any absentee ballot where a voter declared themselves to be “indefinitely confined” under the law, a designation that increased from about 57,000 in 2016 to nearly 216,000 this year due to the pandemic.
Such a declaration exempts the voter from having to show a photo identification to cast a ballot, which Trump lawyer Chris Troupis called “an open invitation for fraud and abuse.”
The conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court earlier this year ruled that it is up to individual voters to determine whether they are indefinitely confined, in line with guidance from the state elections commission.
Trump also sought to discard any absentee ballot where there was not a written application on file and all absentee ballots cast in-person during the two weeks before Election Day.
People who vote in-person early fill out a certification envelope that they then place their ballot in and that envelope serves as the written record. But the vast majority of absentee requests these days are made online, with a voter’s name entered into an electronic log with no paper record.
Arizona’s certification paves the way for Democrat Mark Kelly to take his seat in the US Senate, formalising his victory in a special election to replace the late John McCain. Kelly is scheduled to be sworn in on Wednesday in Washington.