Livestream: Trump campaign makes legal objections during first day of Milwaukee County recount
Updated: 6:49 p.m. on Nov. 20, 2020
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Election workers in Wisconsin will count more than 800,000 ballots over the next few weeks. However, counting was put on hold in Milwaukee County just hours into the recount, because a legal team representing President Donald Trump made objections.
Due to COVID-19, plexiglass barriers separate the election workers from the observers in the exhibit hall at the Wisconsin Center. The Trump legal team said it's concerned observers for the Trump campaign won't be able to see the ballots properly because of the COVID-19 precautions.
Observers were asked to sit down and if they don't want to sit, then they're supposed to stand behind chairs.
"I object to that as an inadequate opportunity for us to observe the ballots and this recount and I ask that we the Trump observers be given an opportunity to properly and carefully observe the recount," said Steward Karge, representing President Donald Trump.
"You mentioned that based upon the protocol that was provided, your observers are not able to safely and securely observe the counting of the ballots -- even though no counting of ballots has begun. Is that correct?" said Tim Posnanski, a Democratic election commissioner on the Board of Canvassers.
County Clerk George Christenson said he and the Rick Baas, the board's Republican election commissioner, met several times to make sure they were comfortable with the way the tables were set up for the recount.
The Trump campaign attorneys made several requests to the board, including that absentee ballot envelopes be set aside if they're from indefinitely confined voters or if the witness signature and address are written in two different colors of ink. The board granted this request, and Milwaukee County Elections Director Julietta Henry asked poll workers to set aside these envelopes.
Attorneys for President-elect Joe Biden's campaign argued many of the objections were unnecessary.
"There is a process here. The process needs to be followed. (Observers) can't slow down or interrupt that process that the tabulators are going through ... I want to be clear what we mean by 'set aside' because they can certainly look but setting aside, setting different piles -- that is not part of the recount process under the statute, " Christopher Meuler, an attorney representing the Biden campaign.
Later, there was a brief outburst from observers, leading Baas to call for order.
"You have people of integrity on this board -- both sides. I need you to conduct yourselves like ladies and gentleman. We will not be these other states," Baas said.
Published: 9:10 a.m. on Nov. 20, 2020
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee and Dane Counties started recounting votes Friday, Nov. 20, from the presidential election -- something requested by President Donald Trump's campaign.
All of the ballots and equipment was moved inside the Wisconsin Center Thursday, and the locked ballot room is guarded 24 hours a day by Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office deputies to make sure the recount is secure.
The recount is costing the Trump campaign $3 million statewide and $2 million that will be spent in Milwaukee County.
Hundreds of poll workers will work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except on Thanksgiving, and observers will also be on-hand during the process.
Watch the livestream below:
CBS 58 is told Republican and Democratic officials want the recount to be a model for a divided country.
Rick Baas, Republican elections commissioner, wants to make sure everyone is confident in how the recount is handled.
"We wanted to make this a paragon of what it should be, we don't want our communities tore up, we don't want an absence of faith in our electoral process," said Baas.
While the recount is underway, there will be eight to 15 sheriff's deputies in case there is any unrest or disruptions.
The recount has to be complete by Dec. 1.