The chair of the Wisconsin Elections Commission signed off on the results of Wisconsin’s 2020 presidential election on Monday afternoon, confirming Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the state, while also opening the door for a legal challenge from President Donald Trump’s campaign.
The president said over the weekend his campaign plans to file a lawsuit challenging the outcome of Wisconsin’s partial presidential recount, which was focused on the Democratic strongholds of Dane and Milwaukee counties, but it couldn’t do so until the recount’s results were approved by the Elections Commission chair.
The recount finished on Sunday. Both Trump and Biden gained votes in the re-tallying, but Biden gained 74 more votes than Trump.
Biden went into the recount with a margin of victory of roughly 20,600 votes statewide.
The Trump campaign attempted to have large categories of ballots — including every ballot cast during in-person early voting in the two counties — thrown out of the recount, but was unsuccessful. A court challenge could revisit those arguments.
Now that the chair of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, Ann Jacobs, who was appointed by a Democrat, has signed off on the election results, the Trump campaign has five business days to file its lawsuit.
Some GOP-appointed members of the Elections Commission had pushed for a meeting of the entire commission before approving the election results, but state law gives the power to provide the final sign-off to the commission chair. The chair of the commission rotates every two years between a Republican appointee and a Democratic appointee.
“The full Commission has never voted on the canvass, determination, certification or the preparation or issuance of certificates,” Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe said in a prepared statement on Monday. “This is the process that has been used for more than 20 elections under the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission.”
Shortly after the commission chair’s approval, Gov. Tony Evers signed off on a pair of official documents authorizing Wisconsin’s slate of presidential electors.
“Today I carried out my duty to certify the November 3rd election, and as required by state and federal law, I’ve signed the Certificate of Ascertainment for the slate of electors for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris,” Evers said in a prepared 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.”
However, Wolfe said the documents signed by Evers could be modified if ordered by a court.
Wisconsin’s presidential electors are scheduled to meet on Dec.14 to cast the state’s 10 electoral votes in the presidential race.