MADISON (WKOW) — An attorney for the Trump campaign argued unsuccessfully Tuesday night for the removal of more than 17,000 City of Madison ballots. The Dane County Board of Canvassers rejected the campaign’s objection to those votes by a 2-1 vote following a brief hearing.
During the ongoing recount at Monona Terrace, Trump campaign attorney Jim Troupis said the ‘Democracy in the Park’ events held in Madison city parks before Election Day amounted to improper in-person absentee voting. Troupis had previously argued all in-person absentee votes should be tossed out; the board of canvassers rejected that objection as well.
Troupis said since the city did not separate those ballots received, the only fair remedy was to draw down, or toss out, 17,271 ballots — the estimated total of ballots dropped off at the events.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and former Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) sent the city a letter in September claiming the events would be illegal.
The city moved forward with the event; Republican lawmakers did not take any legal action in response.
An attorney for the Biden campaign as well as an attorney representing the City of Madison argued the events were not in-person voting because people were not allowed to receive or cast ballots.
They argued even if the events were to be deemed improper, the appropriate response would be never allowing them again instead of disenfranchising more than 17,000 Madison voters.
People were able to register to vote, have staff act as a witness to sign off on their absentee application/envelope, or to drop off an already completed and sealed absentee ballot.
Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell said he believed the events amounted to “human drop boxes.” The majority of the board sided with him, rejected the Trump objection by a 2-1 vote.
McDonell had previously said he hoped to begin counting City of Madison ballots Tuesday but as of Tuesday evening, the Dane County recount remained behind schedule and McDonell said the counting of those ballots would begin Wednesday.
McDonell had previously said his goal was for the entire recount to be completed by Sunday, November 29.
Following the board’s rejections, Troupis said he wanted the audience watching livestreams of the recount to know he appreciated the work of tabulators and volunteers who worked the election in Wisconsin.