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Election Results: When will Wisconsin’s ballots be counted by?

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At this point, it is common knowledge that the full results of the 2020 presidential election will not be known on Election Night. The pandemic has pushed voters to overload state election systems as well as the United States Postal Service with tens of millions of postal ballot (both “mail-in” and “absentee”) requests, something which nearly all states were unprepared for. It’ll all come down to the swing states, as per usual. This time, however, it’s a question of when we’ll get these results.

We’ve talked about when Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Michigan‘s election results might be released—now let’s look at another swing state: Wisconsin.

For an explanation about the difference between mail-in and absentee ballots, check out this piece here by Ben Wilson: The Difference Between Absentee and Mail-In Ballots.

Like Michigan, Wisconsin is (or was) considered part of the Democrats’ “Blue Wall” of support in the Great Lakes region. Here, blue-collar support has traditionally been strong and well-organized, with this bloc of voters having voted Democratic for decades. That changed in 2016, when a certain Donald Trump became the Republicans’ nominee for president. Trump won the state with less than 23,000 votes.

Ordinarily, 6% of Badger State voters cast absentee ballots, according to The Wisconsin State Journal.

“But this year, because of the coronavirus pandemic, a record-high number of ballots are being cast absentee,” said The State Journal. “As of Tuesday, more than 915,000 absentee ballots had been returned out of 1.4 million requested. That is 30% of the total ballots cast in 2016.”

Additionally, for a ballot to be counted, it must be received by the election clerk by 8 pm (Central Time). However, that could change. The State Journal reports that the U.S. Supreme Court is contemplating “a lawsuit that seeks to extend the deadline for counting absentee ballots received by Nov. 9.”

This law could severely delay the results for quite a few days by creating a backlog of ballots that, on Election Day, election workers have to count on top of the votes from polling stations that very day.

Further complicating matters, Wisconsin has a specific rule which mandates that the vote count cannot be paused, even for an evening, until all the ballots are counted. According to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, this law “doesn’t allow local officials to stop their count and reconvene the next morning, so many of them will have to pull an all-nighter.”

Assembling all these details together, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that most of Wisconsin’s results will be revealed within a week after November 3. Regardless, so many variables are up in the air and, as I’ve said previously in this series, anything can happen—especially in 2020.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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FBI punishing employees who attended Jan 6 rally by revoking security clearances

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United States Congress

The official Twitter account of the GOP House Judiciary Committee released an alarming warning: “Whistleblowers alert that the FBI appears to be attempting to terminate the employment of employees who were engaged in protected First Amendment activity on January 6, 2021.”

A letter from ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH), to FBI Director Christopher Wray, addresses how several whistleblowers exposed the FBI of stripping employees of security clearances.

The letter cites claims of multiple whistleblowers who say the FBI has been purposely punishing those who attended then-president Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally on January 6, 2021, by revoking their clearances. Reportedly many of them did not even enter the U.S. Capitol.

“While FBI employees may not participate in partisan political campaigns, [they] do not give up their rights to engage in political speech activity,” wrote Jordan. “We have serious concerns that the FBI appears to be retaliating against employees for engaging in political speech disfavored by FBI leadership,” he added.

The primary whistleblower is described as a 20-year veteran of the FBI and U.S. military. Jordan believes the FBI’s actions could potentially result in the administrative extermination of the individuals’ employment because the FBI requires top-secret security clearances for majority of its employees.

Jordan has required that the FBI brief the committee on the security clearances matter by May 20.

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