US Election: Will Donald Trump's election lawsuits work?

Yahoo News Staff
·5-min read

US President Donald Trump has attacked the integrity of the US voting system, alleging voting fraud and accusing the Democrats of aiming to "steal" the US election.

In a speech on Thursday night (local time) the president again made false and baseless claims of “illegal votes” and “fake polls”.

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““If you count the legal votes, I easily win. If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us,” he said.

President Donald Trump speaks on election night in the East Room of the White House.
US President Donald Trump has filed lawsuits in four states. Source: Getty

The speech comes after his campaign has filed several lawsuits in battleground states and called for a recount in Wisconsin, though some legal experts said the court challenges were a long shot unlikely to affect the election outcome.

Is there evidence of election fraud?

The head of an international delegation monitoring the US election says his team has no evidence to support Trump’s claims about alleged fraud involving mail-in absentee ballots.

Michael Georg Link, a German politician who heads an observer mission of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, told German public broadcaster RBB on Thursday that “on the election day itself, we couldn’t see any violations” at the US polling places they visited.

Link said he was “very surprised” by Trump’s claims about postal ballot fraud because the United States has a long history of this method of voting going back to the 19th century.

“We looked into this. We found no violations of the rules whatsoever,” Link told RBB.

He said neither US election observers nor media found any evidence of fraud either, though the OSCE team on Wednesday repeated long-standing concerns about disenfranchisement of some voters and the distorting effects of campaign finance laws.

Link said there were some instances of errors being made “but no systemic interference or even manipulation with the postal ballots whatsoever”.

Trump has for weeks argued that mail voting is prone to fraud. So in what states has Trump filed lawsuits so far and why?

Pennsylvania

Trump sued Philadelphia County's Board of Elections, seeking an emergency injunction barring it from counting ballots so long as Republican observers are not present as it said was required under Pennsylvania law.

Trump's campaign said election officials are "intentionally refusing to allow any representatives and poll watchers for President Trump and the Republican Party".

A child holds a sign as dozens of people calling for stopping the vote count in Pennsylvania due to alleged fraud against President Donald Trump.
A child holds a sign supporting Donald Trump's accusation the Democrats are trying to 'steal' the election. Source: Getty

The lawsuit was filed with the federal court in Philadelphia.

At the Supreme Court, the campaign is seeking to invalidate mail-in votes in Pennsylvania that are postmarked by Election Day but arrive by the end of Friday.

A recount is automatic if the margin of victory is less than or equal to 0.5 percentage points. Two other avenues for requesting recounts include requiring at least three voter signatures that attest to an error in the vote tally, and going to state court to file petitions alleging fraud and error.

The deadline is by 5pm on the second Thursday following the election, for automatic recounts. If a recount is requested, the deadline is five days after the election.

With 20 electoral college votes at stake in Pennsylvania, the result in the state could have a huge impact on the election outcome as the candidates race to the all important number of 270.

Trump is currently leading in the state.

Michigan

Trump asked courts to temporarily halt the vote counts because the campaign's observers were allegedly denied access to the counting process.

The Michigan case was dismissed on Thursday.

A recount is required if the margin of victory is less than or equal to 2000 votes.

Request for a recount should be made within 48 hours of the vote canvass.

Associated Press called Biden had won the state of Michigan, worth 16 electoral votes.

Georgia

In Georgia, the Trump campaign asked a judge to require Chatham County to separate late-arriving ballots to ensure they were not counted, but the case was dismissed on Thursday.

"There is no consistent strategy there," said Jessica Levinson, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

She said the campaign was "throwing theories at a wall to see if anything sticks for long enough to muck up the waters”.

A candidate can request a recount if the margin of victory is less than or equal to 0.5 percentage points.

A recount must be requested within two business days after results have been certified.

Trump is currently leading in Georgia, where 16 electoral votes are at stake.

Wisconsin

Trump’s campaign engaged in a flurry of legal activity to try to improve the Republican president’s chances, requesting a recount in Wisconsin.

A full or partial recount can be requested if the margin of victory is less than or equal to one percentage point.

For presidential elections, the request must be made by 5pm on the first business day after the state's vote canvass.

Statewide recounts in Wisconsin have historically changed the vote tally by only a few hundred votes; Biden led by more than 20,000 ballots out of nearly 3.3 million counted.

AP has called Biden the winner in Wisconsin.

with Reuters and AP

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