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Wisconsin Judge Rules Against (Another) Trump Bid To Overturn Biden's Win

A Wisconsin judge has rejected another of President Trump's attempts to overturn his loss to President-elect Joe Biden, spurning the Trump campaign's claims that election officials in two counties failed to follow state law regarding absentee ballots during Wisconsin's recount in the close race.

"The certification of the results of the 2020 Wisconsin presidential election, after the Dane County and Milwaukee County recounts, is affirmed," Reserve Judge Stephen Simanek said during a hearing Friday morning.

Wisconsin sent its certificate of ascertainment for the 2020 election to the National Archives on Nov. 30, stating that Biden defeated Trump in the state by more than 20,000 votes.

Simanek said the counties made reasonable accommodations because of the coronavirus and had correctly interpreted Wisconsin's absentee-voting laws.

The ruling can be appealed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court – and the Trump campaign said it will do so.

"Obviously, the Supreme Court is expecting to hear from us shortly," Trump campaign attorney Jim Troupis said at the end of the hearing, as Simanek prepared to draft his court order.

During the hearing, Simanek said that at this point in the electoral process, the court is restricted in what it can review. And he noted that the issue did not hinge on questions of fraud.

"Among the groups of voters challenged were those who voted in person before Election Day and those who said they were 'indefinitely confined,' which let them request an absentee ballot without showing a photo ID," member station Wisconsin Public Radio reports.

"I'm not here to make broad determinations on constitutional issues," Simanek said.

While the judge acknowledged the extraordinary circumstances the COVID-19 pandemic imposed on the Nov. 3 vote, he said the two candidates' representatives had been able to monitor the process as it took place.

"But there's no real dispute here," Simanek said. "The observers were able to properly challenge ballots they thought should not have been counted. The parties reached an agreement early on for a standing rejection to broad ranges of ballots in the four categories that are in dispute here."

The judge continued, "I believe the recount was transparent and open – I believe it may have even been live-streamed. There is no dispute in that regard."

The Trump campaign is grasping for ways to prevent Biden's victory from being recognized by the Electoral College – an event that is set to occur on Monday, when electors will vote in their respective states.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.