Observers for Donald Trump are being accused of obstructing the vote recount in Wisconsin



Election officials in Wisconsin’s largest county have accused observers for US President Donald Trump of seeking to obstruct a recount of the presidential results, in some instances by objecting to every ballot tabulators pulled to count.

Mr Trump requested the recount in Milwaukee and Dane counties, both heavily liberal, in hopes of undoing Democrat Joe Biden’s victory by about 20,600 votes.

With no precedent for a recount reversing such a large margin, Mr Trump’s strategy is widely seen as aimed at an eventual court challenge, part of a push in key states to undo his election loss.

A steady stream of Republican complaints in Milwaukee was putting the recount far behind schedule, county clerk George Christenson said.

He said many Trump observers were breaking rules by constantly interrupting vote counters with questions and comments.

“That’s unacceptable. (Some of the Trump observers) clearly don’t know what they are doing,” he said.

At least one Trump observer was escorted out by sheriff’s deputies on Saturday after pushing an election official who had lifted her coat from an observer chair.

Another Trump observer was removed on Friday for not wearing a face mask properly as required.

Trump paid $A4.1 million, as required by state law, for the partial recount that began Friday and must conclude by 1 December.

His team is seeking to disqualify ballots where election clerks filled in missing address information on the certification envelope where the ballot is inserted, even though the practice has long been accepted in Wisconsin.

The campaign also alleges thousands of absentee ballots don’t have proper written paperwork, and that some absentee voters improperly declared themselves “indefinitely confined,” a status that allows them to receive a ballot without photo ID.

Those challenges were being rejected.

There have been at least 31 recounts in statewide elections in the US since the most famous one in Florida’s presidential election in 2000.

The recounts changed the outcome of three races. All three were decided by hundreds of votes, not thousands.



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Ex-BlueScope executive pleads guilty to obstructing cartel investigation


“Mr Ellis has pleaded guilty to inciting two fellow BlueScope employees to give false information and evidence to the ACCC regarding discussions he and those BlueScope employees had in meetings with certain steel companies. These matters were ‘rolled up’ into one obstruction charge, as part of Mr Ellis’ guilty plea, accepted by the court today,” the ACCC said in a statement.

The matter is now listed for a sentencing hearing in the Local Court on 8 December.

“This is the first time an individual has been charged with inciting the obstruction of a Commonwealth public official in relation to an ACCC investigation,” said ACCC chairman Rod Sims.

The court matter involving Mr Ellis is separate to civil proceedings filed by the ACCC against BlueScope and Mr Ellis, which are before the Federal Court. In this case, the ACCC alleges that over the period between September 2013 and June 2014 BlueScope and Mr Ellis attempted to induce Australian steel distributors and overseas steel makers to enter into agreements containing a price fixing provision.

In the Federal Court case the ACCC has alleged that Mr Ellis had developed a so-called “carrot and stick” strategy, in a bid to increase prices for flat steel products in Australia. But in its defence filed in March this year BlueScope rejected these claims.

The competition watchdog has alleged that the strategy also involved threatening to lodge anti-dumping complaints against countries where steel manufacturers were based, “unless the price at which they sold Flat Steel Products to Australian Steel Distributors and/or Australian Steel Users was increased”.

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In response to this claim BlueScope said in that it simply pursued anti-dumping actions where it believed that steel products were being illegally dumped in Australia.

The ACCC has told the Federal Court that BlueScope’s alleged attempts to induce breaches of cartel rules delivered the company a benefit, making it more likely that the company could raise or maintain its prices for Australian steel.

BlueScope has maintained since the legal action was announced last year that neither it, nor any of its current or former staff had engaged in cartel conduct.



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