Nearly 400 Uncounted Ballots Found In City Of Milwaukee

More Ballots Counted In Milwaukee County Monday Than First 3 Days Of Recount Combined

A man in gloves and a face mask carries a stack of ballots during the recount
An election official carries a stack of ballots Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, during the recount in Milwaukee. Angela Major/WPR

Nearly 400 ballot envelopes cast in the November election from a voting ward on the City of Milwaukee’s south side were never counted. The uncounted ballots were discovered during day five of the recount at the Wisconsin Center by Claire Woodall-Vogg, executive director of the Milwaukee Election Commission, who said it appeared simple human error was the cause.

“I reviewed the paper work and it was new election inspectors who worked one shift on Election Day,” Woodall-Vogg told reporters Tuesday. “If there is one positive to come out of the recount, it is that every vote is undoubtedly being counted.”

Stewart Karge, a Trump campaign representative, objected to the ballots being opened and counted. Karge said there was no chain of custody since the Nov. 3 election.

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The board of canvassers voted unanimously to open the ballots.

These 386 ballots could change the outcome for Ward 315, where 466 people there voted for President-elect Joe Biden and 436 voted for President Donald Trump, but not for the City of Milwaukee, where Biden won by close to 79 percent.

Milwaukee County Clerk George Christenson said after a slow start Friday and over the weekend, that ballot re-tallying was proceeding more quickly. During the first three days of recounting, there were about 100,000 ballots counted. On Monday, 150,000 ballots were recounted, Christenson said, Tuesday.

The Trump campaign lodged several wide-ranging objections to ballots when the recount began Friday, attempting to throw out votes cast during Wisconsin’s in-person early voting period and ballots cast by indefinitely confined voters. The bipartisan, three-member county boards of canvassers in both Dane and Milwaukee counties rejected those requests to exclude ballots from the recount.

Trump lost to Democrat Biden by about 20,600 votes in Wisconsin but paid for a recount in Milwaukee and Dane counties, where the majority of Democratic votes were made.

Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell said the recount there is 36 percent complete and only “slightly behind schedule.”

The counties must complete the recount by Tuesday, Dec. 1.

Editor’s note: The Associated Press contributed to this report.