Trump faces long odds in challenging state vote counts

Republican surrogates for President Donald Trump resumed their legal fight Monday to try to stop the vote count in key battleground states, including Pennsylvania and Michigan, but faced long odds given the Electoral College tally and recent court rulings that found no clear evidence of widespread vote fraud.

While some Republican officials invoked the Trump stance that only “legal votes” should be counted, others emerged to counter the campaign and urge voters, and perhaps the president, to support the results.

“The process has not failed our country in more than 200 years, and it is not going to fail our country this year,” said Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who won her reelection bid and has congratulated President-elect Joe Biden on his victory.

Still, Trump lawyers soldiered on six days after the election, just as personal counsel Rudy Giuliani had promised they would during a surreal weekend press conference outside a landscaping storefront in northeast Philadelphia.

Giuliani denounced the city’s vote count—which fell about 4-1 for Biden, giving the Democrat the win Saturday in both Pennsylvania and the U.S. election—as “extremely troubling.”

Across the country, Republicans have complained about problems with the signatures, secrecy envelopes and postal marks on ballots, the inability of their poll watchers to scrutinize them and the extensions granted for mail-in ballots to arrive.

However, judges have largely rejected the Republican challenges over the past week as the campaign sought to interrupt the vote count as it leaned toward Biden. Trump has yet to concede the election, even as the former vice president claimed victory and got to work on his transition plans.

At the U.S. Supreme Court, 10 Republican state attorneys general filed an amicus brief Monday to support a challenge to Pennsylvania’s decision to count mail-in ballots that arrived through Friday. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court had unanimously upheld the three-day extension set by Democratic state officials concerned about Postal Service delays and the COVID-19 pandemic. The attorneys general say the court usurped a power reserved for state lawmakers.

The U.S. Supreme Court had declined to fast-track the challenge, but the vote was 4-4, and three justices expressed reservations. Republicans now hope to try again with new Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett on the court.

“The decision provided a window of time after Election Day, when the preliminary results were announced, in which unscrupulous actors could attempt to influence a close Presidential election,” the Republican Attorneys General Association said in the brief.

Earlier Monday, an anti-abortion law center in Michigan filed suit to complain about vote counting procedures in Wayne County. An appeals court in Michigan, meanwhile, asked the Trump campaign to refile a case submitted last week, saying the appeal was incomplete.

And in Arizona, the Trump campaign asked in a lawsuit filed Saturday for the right to inspect thousands of in-person ballots filled out on Election Day in the Phoenix area, alleging that poll workers had mishandled them.

In Georgia, where Biden has a small lead over Trump but the race remains too early to call, a state election official pledged Monday to investigate any ballot problems they find.

“When the margins are this tight, every little thing matters,” said Gabriel Sterling, who led the state’s implementation of a new voting system for the secretary of state’s office.

Still, he expressed frustration over efforts to shake the public’s faith in the electoral system.

“The facts are the facts, regardless of outcomes,” Sterling said.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Story Continues Below

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

13 thoughts on “Trump faces long odds in challenging state vote counts

  1. Trump has every right to ask for a recount especially in States where it is so close. Trump does not have the right to state as he has for months before the election, that there is a flaw in the democracy of our voting system. His insecurity and paranoia get the best of him most of the time. Trump’s ego is too big for him to lose at anything.

    1. Call it what it is – the beginnings of a coup. The Republican Party hates democracy, if that wasn’t apparent before, it should be now.

  2. Trump indeed has the right to request recounts. However, to advance baseless allegations of fraud is wrong and shameful. But, alas, this behaviour is not surprising. Sad The ongoing assault on the media, spreading misinformation, seeking to subvert peaceful protests, disparaging those with different opinions, fomenting hate, supporting vigilantism — these actions reflect abdication of the role of president to unite and proactively work in the best interest of all citizens. Basta! Adhering to decorum and decency is expected of a leader.

    1. If you pay attention to what they have found it is NOT baseless! Take a closer look than just listening to lies from the liberal press!

    2. From those libs at the Wall Street Journal:

      No Evidence of Systematic Fraud in U.S. Elections, International Observer Mission Reports

      A team of international observers invited by the Trump administration has issued a preliminary report giving high marks to the conduct of last week’s elections–and it criticizes President Trump for making baseless allegations that the outcome resulted from systematic fraud.

      A 28-member delegation from the Organization of American States followed events in several locations across the U.S., including in the battleground states of Georgia and Michigan, both remotely and with observers at polling stations and counting centers.

      “While the OAS Mission has not directly observed any serious irregularities that call into question the results so far, it supports the right of all contesting parties in an election, to seek redress before the competent legal authorities when they believe they have been wronged,” the report said. “It is critical however, that candidates act responsibly by presenting and arguing legitimate claims before the courts, not unsubstantiated or harmful speculation in the public media.”

      The OAS assessment followed similar findings by an election observation team from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

      “Baseless allegations of systematic deficiencies, notably by the incumbent president, including on election night, harm public trust in democratic institutions,” Michael Georg Link, leader of the short-term OSCE observer mission, said last week.

      The 20-OAS page report praised state and local officials for efforts to facilitate voting during the coronavirus pandemic and, while it had numerous recommendations for improving the elections system, found no evidence of the pervasive fraud that Mr. Trump, who has not conceded the presidential election, has insisted caused his loss to President-elect Joe Biden.

      The report noted: ‘”In his statement the Republican candidate cast further aspersions on the US electoral process, stating that ‘This is a case where they’re trying to steal an election. They’re trying to rig an election and we can’t let that happen.’ The OAS observers deployed in the battleground states of Michigan and Georgia did not witness any of the aforementioned irregularities.”’

      Led by OAS Secretary-General Luis Almagro, the 28-member team included specialists and observers from 13 countries. The OAS routinely sends missions to report independently on elections in member states; this year alone, its observers have filed reports from Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Peru and Suriname.

      The State Department invited the OAS to send in its team in October, and observers remained in place from Oct. 23 to Nov. 7.

      “On Election Day, the members of the Mission were present at polling places in Georgia, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan and the District of Columbia, and observed the process from the opening of the polling centers through to the close of polls and the deposit of voting materials with the appropriate local authorities,” the report said. “Members of the Mission also visited tabulations centers to observe the tallying of result. In the jurisdictions that it observed, the Mission found that the day progressed in a peaceful manner.”

      The Mission notes that attempts by members of the public to ‘stop the count,’ in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Arizona, “were clear examples of intimidation of electoral officials.”

      A more detailed final report is forthcoming, the OAS said.

  3. The odds are with him, no matter how liberal the press is…..we are a country of laws and in the end, justice will be upheld! President Trump is right to challenge fraud and outright cheating.

    1. at the end of the 2016 election Trump claimed fraud. Can you remind me how those allegations turned out?

{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining
{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining Article limit resets on
{{ count_down }}