Former Vice President Joe Biden was declared the winner of Wisconsin in the presidential election by the Associated Press Wednesday afternoon, after a record setting 3.2 million votes were cast in the state.
Unofficial results show Biden with a lead of about 20,000 votes over President Trump, who has already said he would request a recount.
Trump led Wisconsin by as many as 100,000 votes Tuesday night as in-person votes were counted — but Biden overtook Trump early Wednesday morning as a flood of 170,000 absentee votes, mostly Democratic, were reported from the City of Milwaukee. Late results from Green Bay and the city of Kenosha ultimately sealed Biden’s victory.
Wisconsin, like many states in America, set a record for the number of votes cast in this election. The 3.2 million cast is over 200,000 votes higher than the previous high in the 2004 presidential election. Voter turnout was slightly higher in 2004 than 2020, though the states 71.4 percent turnout was higher than most.
Biden’s lead looks very similar to Trump’s 2016 margin of victory in Wisconsin, when Trump won by about 23,000 votes.
Bill Stepien, Trump’s campaign manager, released a statement shortly after the AP announced Biden’s victory calling for a recount.
“Despite ridiculous public polling used as a voter suppression tactic, Wisconsin has been a razor thin race as we always knew that it would be. There have been reports of irregularities in several Wisconsin counties which raise serious doubts about the validity of the results,” Stepien said. “The President is well within the threshold to request a recount and we will immediately do so.”
However, Trump’s chances of actually winning a recount are slim. In the recount of the 2016 general election, Wisconsin officials changed just 131 out of 2.9 million ballots.
If Trump were to request a recount, it could cost him upwards of $3 million, since the current 0.6 percent difference between the candidates is above the 0.25 percent threshold required by Wisconsin state law for an automatic recount.
Former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker tweeted that a 20,000 vote lead would be a “high hurdle” to overcome in a recount.
Meagan Wolfe, the director of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, said Wednesday it was “insulting” to local election officials to say that the election was “anything but an incredible success.”
“We’ve had a recount before, and it showed we have a really good process — our local election officials are doing a really good job,” Wolfe said. “I believe that would be the case if we had a recount again in our state.”
If unofficial results hold, it would mark the fourth time out of the last six presidential elections decided by less than 1 percent in Wisconsin. It would also be the sixth time in eight races that the presidential winner would fail to reach 50 percent of the total vote.
Wolfe said late Wednesday morning that all votes had been counted and verified except those from Willow, a town in Richland County with fewer than 300 voters. The town clerk reportedly fell sick, and officials were having an exceptionally difficult time contacting her.
Willow eventually reported its results in the late afternoon Wednesday. 157 votes went to Trump, 114 to Biden and three went to third party or write-in candidates. Those votes will not significantly impact Biden’s lead over Trump when official results are released.