Attorney heading up Trump campaign's Wisconsin recount effort is seeking to throw out his own vote

Molly Beck, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The attorney leading President Donald Trump’s recount effort in Wisconsin voted illegally according to his own legal argument that in-person absentee ballots should be thrown out. So did his wife.

Jim Troupis, a former Dane County judge and Cross Plains attorney who is representing the Trump campaign, would not answer questions about why he and his wife voted that way.

Troupis and his wife voted early using the state's in-person absentee option – one of a group of voters whose ballots the Trump campaign has asked election officials to deem illegal.

Their names appeared on exhibits Troupis submitted to the Dane County Board of Canvassers on Sunday, during the county's third day of retallying ballots. The exhibits include lists of voters who voted in a manner the campaign alleges is illegal, an argument the Board of Canvassers has rejected. The information was provided by Dane County to both campaigns.

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"I'm sure I'm on that list," he said, while referring other questions to the recount effort's communications team, which includes Republican Party of Wisconsin Chairman Andrew Hitt.

Trump asked for the recount after President-elect Joe Biden defeated him by about 20,000 votes in Wisconsin. The recount began Friday, with the retallying of ballots beginning in earnest on Saturday. In Milwaukee, election officials said Sunday that counting would continue until after Thanksgiving.

Tim McMurty, a temporary voting machine technician for the  City of Milwaukee, sits behind containers of ballots yet to be counted at the presidential election recount at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee on Sunday.
Tim McMurty, a temporary voting machine technician for the City of Milwaukee, sits behind containers of ballots yet to be counted at the presidential election recount at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee on Sunday.

Troupis introduced the exhibits of absentee voter lists on Sunday as a way to establish evidence for an expected legal challenge.

Diane Welsh, a Madison-based attorney for Biden's campaign, objected to the Trump campaign doing so in the midst of the recount.

"This is not a litigation prep session, this is a recount,” Welsh said during a brief hearing at Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center in Madison where the recount is taking place.

When the recount began Friday, the Trump campaign quickly raised objections aimed at tossing tens of thousands of ballots – objections that were rejected. In Milwaukee, its initial objections were more procedural.

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Christ Troupis, another representative for Trump’s campaign and the brother of Jim Troupis, told the Dane County Board of Canvassers on Friday that it should eliminate all in-person early votes; all mailed-in absentee ballots if written applications for them could not be tracked down; all votes submitted by those who say they are indefinitely confined; and all absentee ballots where clerks wrote in the addresses of witnesses.

In Milwaukee County, Trump campaign attorney Stewart Karge asked to review or receive copies of absentee ballot applications and to reject ballots that could not be reconciled.

“I’m not authorized to grant that request for the reasons stated in the election guide,” Board of Canvassing Chair Tim Posnanski said. He added that even if it weren’t laid out in the election guide, he felt the Election Commission did not have the ability to comply with records requests.

The Trump campaign has filed an open records request with the City of Milwaukee to view copies of the absentee ballot requests. Karge said he did not think that request would be fulfilled in a timely manner.

The city’s counting had been delayed because there were so many objections to ballot envelopes, Milwaukee County Clerk George Christenson said, adding that the city lost two days of counting.

The most recent issue to arise was observers taking pictures of ballots, which potentially raises problems because it could be possible to identify individual voters in communities that use central count facilities to tally their absentee ballots, Christenson said.

“We have agreed already to provide all of the images of the ballots cast throughout this recount to the Trump campaign and the Biden campaign, but we will redact any voter numbers that are listed for central count,” he said.

Christenson estimated a “handful” of people had been removed from the recount over the past three days, largely for “unruly behavior” or a violation of the mask requirement.

Contributing: Jordyn Noenning and Alison Dirr, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Contact Molly Beck at molly.beck@jrn.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MollyBeck.

This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin recount: Trump attorney seeks to throw out his own ballot