The Trump campaign said it filed lawsuits Wednesday in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Michigan, laying the groundwork for contesting the outcome in undecided battleground states that could determine whether President Donald Trump gets another four years in the White House.Suits in the three states are demanding better access for campaign observers to locations where ballots are being processed and counted, the campaign said. The campaign also is seeking to intervene in a Pennsylvania case at the Supreme Court that deals with whether ballots received up to three days after the election can be counted, deputy campaign manager Justin Clark said.
As Democrat Joe Biden inched closer to the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House, President Donald Trump’s campaign put into action the legal strategy the president had signaled for weeks: attacking the integrity of the voting process in states where the result could mean his defeat.Democrats scoffed at the legal challenges the president’s campaign filed Wednesday in Pennsylvania and Michigan. Those largely demand better access for campaign observers to locations where ballots are being processed and counted.Early Thursday, a separate Trump campaign lawsuit in Georgia over concerns about 53 absentee ballots was dismissed by a judge after county elections officials testified that all of those ballots had been received on time.
Trump campaign said it is calling for a temporary halt in the counting in both states until it is given “meaningful” access in numerous locations and allowed to review ballots that already have been opened and processed. Trump is running slightly behind Democratic nominee Joe Biden in Michigan. The president is ahead in Pennsylvania but his margin is shrinking as more mailed ballots are counted. There have been no reports of fraud or any type of ballot concerns out of Pennsylvania. The state had 3.1 million mail-in ballots that take time to count and an order allows them to be counted up until Friday if they are postmarked by Nov. 3.
The campaign also said it would ask for a recount in Wisconsin, a state The Associated Press called for Biden on Wednesday afternoon. Campaign manager Bill Stepien cited “irregularities in several Wisconsin counties.” The actions came as elections officials counted votes in several undecided states that are crucial to the outcome of the presidential election.
Biden campaign attorney Bob Bauer on Thursday called the Trump campaign’s lawsuits meritless.Biden said Wednesday the count should continue in all states, adding, “No one’s going to take our democracy away from us — not now, not ever.”
Vote counting, meanwhile, stretched into Thursday. In every election, results reported on election night are unofficial and ballot counting extends past Election Day. This year, states were contending with an avalanche of mail ballots driven by fears of voting in person during a pandemic.Mail ballots normally take more time to verify and count. And results were expected to take longer this year because there are so many mail ballots and a close race.
The lawsuits the Trump campaign filed in Michigan and Pennsylvania on Wednesday called for a temporary halt in the counting until it is given “meaningful” access in numerous locations and allowed to review ballots that already have been opened and processed.On Thursday, a state appellate court ordered a Philadelphia judge to ensure that party and candidate observers can get up close to election workers processing mail-in ballots in the city. The decision came after the Trump campaign complained Tuesday that its observer could not get close enough to election workers to see the writing on the mail-in ballot envelopes, to ensure that the envelope contains a signature and an eligible voter’s name and address. Ballots without that kind of information could be challenged or disqualified. The Georgia lawsuit filed in Chatham County essentially asked the judge to ensure the state laws are being followed on absentee ballots. Campaign officials said earlier they were considering similar challenges in a dozen other counties around the state.The Michigan lawsuit claims Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, was allowing absentee ballots to be counted without teams of bipartisan observers as well as challengers.
Trump, addressing supporters at the White House early Wednesday, talked about taking the undecided race to the Supreme Court. Though it was unclear what he meant, his comments evoked a reprise of the court’s intervention in the 2000 presidential election, which ended with a decision effectively handing the presidency to George W. Bush. To some election law experts, calling for the Supreme Court to intervene now seemed premature, if not rash.