Rabu, 18 November 2020

Donald Trump seeks partial recount in Wisconsin as half of Republicans continue to back claims of electoral fraud - SBS News

President Donald Trump's re-election campaign said it is seeking a partial recount of Wisconsin's presidential election results, as part of its long-shot attempt to reverse President-elect Joe Biden's victory.

While staying out of the public eye, the President Trump has persisted in venting his anger on Twitter, where he made claims of election fraud, some of which were unsupported by evidence and others demonstrably untrue.

Election officials in Wisconsin, as well as in Georgia, said recounts in those states were very unlikely to reverse his losses.

Mr Trump's unfounded claims about the election having been rigged are failing in courts, but opinion polls show they have a political benefit, with as many as half of Republicans believing them, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.

His campaign on Wednesday transferred $US3 million ($A4.1 million) to Wisconsin to cover the costs of recounting votes in Milwaukee and Dane counties, two heavily Democratic areas, less than the $US7.9 million ($A10.8 million) it would have cost for a full statewide recount.

President-elect Mr Biden, a Democrat, won Wisconsin by more than 20,000 votes to lead Mr Trump 49.5 per cent to 48.8 per cent.

Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell said a recount would start on Friday and finish within days. Only a few hundred votes changed in the county's recount after the 2016 presidential election, he said.

“My guess would be that by focusing on Dane and Milwaukee the end result will be that Mr Biden will have a slight increase in votes, but nothing terribly significant - certainly nothing anywhere near what would be required for changing the outcomes,” Mr McDonell said.

Mr Trump's refusal to concede the 3 November election is blocking the smooth transition to a new administration and complicating Mr Biden's response to the coronavirus pandemic when he takes office on 20 January.

Election officials in Wisconsin and Georgia, said recounts in those states were very unlikely to reverse Donald Trump's losses.

Election officials in Wisconsin and Georgia, said recounts in those states were very unlikely to reverse Donald Trump's losses.

In the state-by-state Electoral College that determines the overall election winner, Mr Biden captured 306 votes to Mr Trump's 232. He won the popular vote by more than 5.8 million.

To remain in office, Mr Trump would need to overturn results in at least three states to reach the threshold of 270 electoral votes. That would be unprecedented.

The president is also clinging to hope that a manual recount ordered by the state of Georgia can erase Mr Biden's 14,000-vote lead there and is also challenging results in the swing state of Michigan.

Gabriel Sterling, Georgia's voting system implementation manager, said in a videoconference with journalists that as of Wednesday morning, election officials conducting the recount had reviewed 4,968,000 ballots - nearly all of those cast in the state, and found Mr Biden's lead over Mr Trump in the state had fallen to 12,781 ballots. Before the recount, Mr Biden led by 14,156 votes, Mr Sterling said.

He said investigators would look into any claims of fraud and that in every election a small number of ballots are cast illegally. But he said there was no evidence that fraud could have changed the outcome in Georgia.

Mr Trump on Wednesday falsely claimed that the number of votes counted in heavily Democratic Detroit, the largest city in Michigan, had surpassed the number of residents.

"In Detroit, there are FAR MORE VOTES THAN PEOPLE. Nothing can be done to cure that giant scam. I win Michigan!" he tweeted.

City records show that 250,138 votes were cast there in the presidential election. That is a little more than a third of the city's population, which according to the US Census Bureau is 670,031.

December Deadline

States face a 8 December deadline to certify election results in time for the official Electoral College vote on 14 December.

Congress is scheduled to count the Electoral College votes on 6 January, which is normally a formality.

But Mr Trump supporters in the Senate and House of Representatives could object to the results in a final, long-shot attempt to deprive Mr Biden of 270 electoral votes and turn the final decision over to the House.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday showed about half of Republicans believe Mr Trump "rightfully won" but the election was stolen from him.

Seventy-three per cent of all voters polled agreed Mr Biden won while 5 per cent thought Mr Trump won. But when asked specifically whether Mr Biden had "rightfully won", 52 per cent of Republicans said Donald Trump rightfully won, while only 29 per cent said that Mr Biden had rightfully won.

Election officials from both parties, around the United States, have said there was no evidence of vote tampering, and a federal review drew the same conclusion.

Mr Trump on Tuesday fired the top US cybersecurity official, Chris Krebs, who had irked him by refusing to support allegations of election fraud.

At a federal court hearing in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, US District Judge Matthew Brann appeared sceptical of Mr Trump's request to block officials from certifying Mr Biden's win in that state by more than 80,000 votes.

The president-elect has said Mr Trump's defiance could jeopardise efforts to contain surging COVID-19 cases and inhibit vaccine distribution planning in a country where more than 248,000 people have died from the pandemic.

Mr Biden was due to meet healthcare workers on the front lines of the crisis in a virtual roundtable from his home state of Delaware on Wednesday.

As he battles to save his presidency, President Trump will stay in Washington over next week's Thanksgiving holiday, rather than travel to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, a spokeswoman for first lady Melania Trump said.

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2020-11-18 20:56:36Z

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