Wisconsin becomes last contested US state to confirm Biden won

Election officials count absentee ballots in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Nov 4, 2020. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - Wisconsin became the last contested battleground state to make President-elect Joe Biden's victory over Donald Trump official, as the president and his allies failed to halt vote certifications in an effort to overturn the outcome of the election.

Wisconsin Elections Commission Chairwoman Ann Jacobs officially confirmed the election result on Monday (Nov 30), sending it to Democratic Governor Tony Evers to appoint the electors who will cast the state's 10 Electoral College votes for Biden when they meet Dec 14, unless a court intervenes.

Jacobs' action also starts a five-day period for the Trump campaign to appeal the outcome of a recount.

The Trump campaign requested and funded a recount of two heavily Democratic counties that confirmed Biden's win in the state and even increased his margin of victory over Trump of more than 20,000 votes.

Trump has so far refused to concede, but the US General Services Administration has acknowledged Biden as the apparent winner and the president called on his agencies to cooperate.

That designation triggered a formal transition process, giving Biden and his team access to current agency officials, briefing books and other government resources.

In Wisconsin, Trump's campaign had requested and paid US$3 million for recounts in the counties of Milwaukee and Dane, which includes the state capital, Madison. Those counties voted heavily for Biden and Milwaukee County is the home to many of Wisconsin's Black voters. A statewide recount would have cost an estimated US$7.9 million.

Wisconsin is the final contested battleground state to formalise its election results after Arizona made its election official earlier Monday.

Pennsylvania, Michigan and Nevada certified Biden's victories in those states last week, and Georgia made his win there official on Nov 20.

In Wisconsin, the Trump campaign had cited "illegally altered absentee ballots, illegally issued absentee ballots, and illegal advice given by government officials allowing Wisconsin's voter ID laws to be circumvented" when it requested a recount. The campaign alleged that municipal clerks issued absentee ballots without voters requesting them, among other claims.

But Meagan Wolfe, Wisconsin's chief elections official, has said "we have not seen any credible information to cast any doubt" on the state's results.

"There's no basis at all for any assertion that there was widespread fraud that would have affected the results," Democratic Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul said in a statement.

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