Wisconsin and Arizona certify Biden wins in yet another blow to Trump

By David Smith

Joe Biden’s victories in the US presidential election battlegrounds of Arizona and Wisconsin were officially recognised on Monday, handing Donald Trump six defeats out of six in his bid to stop states certifying their results.

The finalised vote counts took Biden a step closer to the White House and dealt yet another blow to Trump’s longshot efforts to undermine the outcome.

The certification in Wisconsin followed a partial recount that only added to Biden’s nearly 20,700-vote margin over Trump, who has promised to file a lawsuit seeking to undo the results.

“Today I carried out my duty to certify the November 3rd election,” Wisconsin’s governor, Tony Evers, said in a statement. “I want to thank our clerks, election administrators, and poll workers across our state for working tirelessly to ensure we had a safe, fair, and efficient election. Thank you for all your good work.”

Trump is mounting a desperate campaign to overturn the results by disqualifying as many as 238,000 ballots in the state, and his attorneys have alleged without evidence that there was widespread fraud and illegal activity.

Trump paid $3m for recounts in Dane and Milwaukee counties, the two largest Democratic counties in Wisconsin, but the recount ended up increasing Biden’s lead by 74 votes.

Wisconsin’s Democratic attorney general, Josh Kaul, said in a statement on Monday: “There’s no basis at all for any assertion that there was widespread fraud that would have affected the results.”

Kaul noted that Trump’s recount targeted only the state’s two most populous counties, where the majority of Black people live. “I have every confidence that this disgraceful Jim Crow strategy for mass disenfranchisement of voters will fail. An election isn’t a game of gotcha.”

And even if Trump were successful in Wisconsin, where he beat Hillary Clinton four years ago, the state’s 10 electoral college votes would not be enough to undo Biden’s overall victory, as states around the country certify results declaring him the winner.

Trump’s legal challenges have also failed in other battleground states, including Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Pennsylvania. States are required to certify their results before the electoral college meets on 14 December.

Earlier on Monday, Arizona officials certified Biden’s narrow victory in that state. Biden won by about 11,000 votes, a slim margin, although a significant victory nonetheless as in past election cycles Arizona has trended reliably toward Republicans.

Arizona’s Democratic secretary of state, Katie Hobbs, and Republican governor, Doug Ducey, both vouched for the integrity of the election before signing off on the results.

“We do elections well here in Arizona. The system is strong,” Ducey said.

Hobbs said Arizona voters should know that the election “was conducted with transparency, accuracy and fairness in accordance with Arizona’s laws and election procedures, despite numerous unfounded claims to the contrary”.

Biden is only the second Democrat in 70 years to win Arizona. In the final tally, he beat Trump by 10,457 votes, or 0.3% of the nearly 3.4m ballots cast.

Even as Hobbs, Ducey, the state attorney general and chief justice of the state supreme court certified the election results, Trump’s lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis met in a Phoenix hotel ballroom a few miles away to lay out claims of irregularities in the vote count in Arizona and elsewhere. But they did not provide evidence of widespread fraud.

Trump phoned into the meeting and described the election the “greatest scam ever perpetrated against our country”. When he mentioned Ducey’s name, the crowd booed. He accused the governor of “rushing to sign” papers certifying Democratic wins, adding: “Arizona won’t forget what Ducey just did.”

Trump also berated Ducey on Twitter, asking: “Why is he rushing to put a Democrat in office, especially when so many horrible things concerning voter fraud are being revealed at the hearing going on right now.”

For his part, Ducey, who has previously said his phone’s ringtone for calls from the White House is “Hail to the Chief”, was seen in a viral video clip receiving a call with that ringtone but rejecting it without answering.

Trump’s denials of political reality have left him increasingly isolated as a growing number of Republicans acknowledge the transition and Biden moves ahead with naming appointments to his administration.

There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election. In fact, election officials from both political parties have stated publicly that the election went well and international observers confirmed there were no serious irregularities.

Chris Krebs, former director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, told CBS’s 60 Minutes programme on Sunday: “There is no foreign power that is flipping votes. There’s no domestic actor flipping votes. I did it right. We did it right. This was a secure election.”