Elections officials in two Wisconsin counties are continuing their work to re-tally ballots cast in the November presidential contest as they near the Dec. 1 deadline to complete the recount. The long-shot push to flip the state for President Donald Trump, which is surely headed to the courts after the recount ends, has sought to invalidate thousands of absentee ballots from voters who had followed guidance provided to them by their local clerks and others. The process kicked-off in the state’s two biggest and bluest counties, Dane and Milwaukee, on Friday, though it took a while for the counting to officially begin. As of Monday morning, Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell said nearly one-quarter of ballots cast have been tabulated by the start of the fourth day of the recount requested and paid for by Trump’s campaign. “We are slightly behind schedule but catching up,” he wrote on Twitter, noting 55 of the 253 reporting units have been completed thus far. “So grateful for all who are pitching in for democracy.” This week will include the Madison portion of the recount, where voters’ ballots in the city make up just under half of Dane’s total votes (according to the recent canvassed results from the state’s counties) and are spread across more than 150 reporting units. The clerk’s office will be closed this week as officials prepare to answer questions for the three-member Board of Canvassers, which is controlled 2-1 by Democrats.
Trump Administration Approves Start of Formal Transition to Biden | Michael D. Shear, Maggie Haberman, Nick Corasaniti and Jim Rutenberg/The New York Times
President Trump’s government on Monday authorized President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. to begin a formal transition process after Michigan certified Mr. Biden as its winner, a strong sign that the president’s last-ditch bid to overturn the results of the election was coming to an end. Mr. Trump did not concede, and vowed to persist with efforts to change the vote, which have so far proved fruitless. But the president said on Twitter on Monday night that he accepted the decision by Emily W. Murphy, the administrator of the General Services Administration, to allow a transition to proceed. In his tweet, Mr. Trump said that he had told his officials to begin “initial protocols” involving the handoff to Mr. Biden “in the best interest of our country,” even though he had spent weeks of trying to subvert a free and fair election with false claims of fraud. Hours later, he tried to play down the significance of Ms. Murphy’s action, tweeting that it was simply “preliminarily work with the Dems” that would not stop efforts to change the election results. Still, Ms. Murphy’s designation of Mr. Biden as the apparent victor provides the incoming administration with federal funds and resources and clears the way for the president-elect’s advisers to coordinate with Trump administration officials. The decision from Ms. Murphy came after several additional senior Republican lawmakers, as well as leading figures from business and world affairs, denounced the delay in allowing the peaceful transfer of power to begin, a holdup that Mr. Biden and his top aides said was threatening national security and the ability of the incoming administration to effectively plan for combating the coronavirus pandemic. And it followed a key court decision in Pennsylvania, where the state’s Supreme Court on Monday ruled against the Trump campaign and the president’s Republican allies, stating that roughly 8,000 ballots with signature or date irregularities must be counted.