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Voters wait in line outside a polling center on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Kenosha, Wis. (AP) Voters wait in line outside a polling center on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Kenosha, Wis. (AP)

Voters wait in line outside a polling center on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Kenosha, Wis. (AP)

By D.L. Davis December 9, 2020

Recount finds Trump did not win Wisconsin, despite his victory claim

If Your Time is short

  • The morning after Election Day, the Associated Press declared Joe Biden the winner in Wisconsin.

  • A partial recount, in Dane and Milwaukee counties, increased Biden’s statewide margin to 20,695 votes out of about 3 million cast.

  • On Nov. 30, 2020, Gov. Tony Evers and the head of Wisconsin's elections board certified Democrat Joe Biden's victory in the state.

  • On Dec. 3, 2020, the state Supreme Court rejected the request by Trump to revoke the certification of his loss to Biden.

  • Trump is continuing to pursue court cases, but the bottomline -- certification -- has been completed, and Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes will go to Biden.

In his first major appearance since the presidential election, President Donald Trump was the main attraction at a Dec. 5, 2020 rally in Valdosta, Ga., where he hoped to boost the campaigns of Republican U.S. Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue.

The pair are competing against Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, respectively, to keep their seats in the Jan. 5 runoff that will determine which party controls the U.S. Senate.

Loeffler and Perdue, however, were not the primary focus of the president’s speech. 

Instead, Trump turned to a broken-record of wrong and baseless claims, arguing there had been massive fraud and he had actually won the election, defeating Democrat Joe Biden. He and his lawyers have been aggressively pulling every lever, from recounts to lawsuits to public pressure, to undo the results of the election.

Naturally, Trump turned to Wisconsin, one of the state’s that narrowly swung to Biden.

"A poll came out ... Washington Post, ABC, just before the election," Trump told the crowd. "(It said) I’m going to lose Wisconsin by 17 points. I said ‘No, I’m going to win Wisconsin.’ 

"Actually, I won Wisconsin."

Actually, Trump didn’t. 

He lost Wisconsin. Let’s dig in.

Wisconsin results

On Nov. 4, 2020, the morning after Election Day, the Associated Press declared Biden the winner in Wisconsin. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported unofficial results showed Biden with a lead of about 20,000 votes -- and that the Trump campaign was already vowing to request a recount.

When it did request the recount, Trump’s team focused only on heavily Democratic Dane and Milwaukee counties. But, by the time the recount was over, Trump actually fell further behind.

Biden netted 132 votes in Milwaukee County and Trump netted 45 votes in Dane County. Taken together, that increased Biden’s statewide margin to 20,695 votes out of about 3 million cast, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on Nov. 29, 2020. (A day later, the figures were revised: Trump's pickup was 58 in Dane (instead of 45), and the final margin was 20,682.  The overall net pickup for Biden in the two recounts became 74 (instead of 87 as initially reported).

Having failed, the Trump campaign turned to the court system.

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But on Dec. 3, 2020, in a 4-3 decision, the state Supreme Court rejected the campaign’s request to overturn the certification of votes. Instead, the court said Trump’s campaign had to start at the circuit court level. It was a major setback, with even dissenting judges indicating they may reject the call to throw out hundreds of thousands of ballots.

A day later, the court said it would not accept a lawsuit by Trump allies who wanted to let Republican lawmakers decide how to cast the state's electoral votes, rather than the electors chosen by voters in the election. 

Meanwhile, the campaign also went to the federal court, where U.S. District Judge Brett Ludwig questioned whether the case should even be before him, calling part of the lawsuit’s requested remedy "really bizarre" and told an attorney for the Trump campaign it was seeking  "pretty remarkable declaratory relief." Ludwig has scheduled a hearing for Dec. 10.

In any case, for our purposes here, the main thing that matters is the results themselves.

On Nov. 30, the recounted totals were certified by the chair of the state elections board and Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat.

In a statement, Evers said: "Today I carried out my duty to certify the November 3rd election, and as required by state and federal law, I've signed the Certificate of Ascertainment for the slate of electors for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris." 

That sets in motion the Electoral College vote Dec. 14, which will involve 10 Democratic electors.

It also means Biden -- not Trump -- won.

Our ruling

At a Georgia rally, President Trump said "Actually, I won Wisconsin." 

There is a preponderance of evidence, including Election Day tallies and a partial recount, illustrating exactly the opposite -- that challenger Biden is the winner in Wisconsin.  

Meanwhile, there is no evidence to support the claim that Trump won Wisconsin. The claim, on its face, is ridiculous.

Therefore, we rate it Pants on Fire.

 

 

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More by D.L. Davis

Recount finds Trump did not win Wisconsin, despite his victory claim

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