Election 2020: Trump campaign files suits in multiple states

Trump campaign files suits in multiple states

Updates:

1:30 p.m. ET Nov. 5, 2020: A Michigan judge has dismissed a lawsuit by President Donald Trump’s campaign in a dispute over whether Republican challengers had access to the handling of absentee ballots.

Judge Cynthia Stephens said the defendant, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, was the wrong person to sue because she doesn’t control the logistics of local ballot counting, even if she is the state’s chief election officer.

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12:10 p.m. ET Nov. 5, 2020: The Trump campaign and the Nevada Republican Party plan to file a lawsuit claiming that as many as 10,000 people in Nevada cast a ballot despite no longer living there.

According to those who are familiar with the suit, campaign officials say they have proof that people who have died have been found to have voted.

Trump’s campaign also said Thursday that it would demand a recount in any state that it lost within a 1% margin or less.

12:05 p.m. ET Nov. 5, 2020: A Georgia judge dismissed a lawsuit by the Trump campaign that asked to ensure state laws were followed on absentee ballots.

Original story:

President Donald Trump’s campaign on Wednesday launched multistate legal challenges to the continuing presidential vote count, claiming among other things that Republicans have been denied adequate access to the process.

In addition to the suits demanding better access to vote counting, another suit is questioning the counting of absentee ballots that arrived after the deadline and those which are “defective.”

Trump’s campaign mounted the challenges as more states were called Wednesday for Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

Here is a look at what has been filed.

Michigan

The suit filed in Michigan seeks to halt the counting of ballots because according to Trump’s campaign, they have not been given “meaningful access” to the areas where votes are being counted.

“President Trump’s campaign has not been provided with meaningful access to numerous counting locations to observe the opening of ballots and the counting process, as guaranteed by Michigan law,” Bill Stepien, Trump’s campaign manager, said in a news release.

“We have filed suit today in the Michigan Court of Claims to halt counting until meaningful access has been granted. We also demand to review those ballots which were opened and counted while we did not have meaningful access,” the statement said.

According to the filing, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson “have undermined the right of all Michigan voters — including the voters bringing this action — to participate in fair and lawful elections.”

Michigan law requires that one inspector from each major political party be present at ballot counting locations. The law allows for a maximum of 134 challengers. Both parties have passed that amount with more than 200 each, according to the Detroit News.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office released a statement that read, “Michigan’s elections have been conducted transparently, with access provided for both political parties and the public, and using a robust system of checks and balances to ensure that all ballots are counted fairly and accurately.”

Georgia

A lawsuit was filed late Wednesday in Georgia claiming that absentee ballots received after the 7 p.m., Election Day deadline were not stored in a way that would prevent them from being processed and counted.

In Georgia, late absentee ballots must be stored unopened for a period of time and eventually destroyed.

According to the suit, absentee ballots received in Chatham County, Georgia, after the 7 p.m. deadline on Election Day were not stored in a way that prevented inadvertent or intentional counting. The suit claims that not segregating the ballots “harms the interests of the Trump Campaign.”

“Failing to ensure that absentee ballots received after the deadline are stored in a manner to ensure that such ballots are not inadvertently or intentionally counted, as required under Georgia law, harms the interests of the Trump Campaign and President Trump because it could lead to the dilution of legal votes cast in support of President Trump,” the suit reads.

Pennsylvania

Trump’s campaign on Wednesday asked the Supreme Court for permission to participate in a pending appeal that would invalidate a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision to count mail-in ballots received by Friday but that are postmarked by Election Day.

The Supreme Court had previously declined to fast-track the challenge to Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court decision but said it could reconsider the case. The court has not commented on whether it would hear the case or when it might decide whether to grant review.

The campaign also filed a suit in Pennsylvania on Wednesday to allow Republican poll watchers access to the places where votes are being counted, and to ensure that certain first-time voters produce missing proof of identification in a timely manner.

Pennsylvania Republicans also asked a federal judge to block the counting of some mail-in ballots in a Philadelphia suburb and some Republican candidates asked a state court to block the counting of provisional ballots where voters had sent in defective mail-in or absentee ballots.

Wisconsin

Stepien announced Wednesday that Trump’s campaign would ask for a recount in Wisconsin. Stepien cited “irregularities in several Wisconsin counties.”

“There have been reports of irregularities in several Wisconsin counties which raise serious doubts about the validity of the results. The president is well within the threshold to request a recount and we will immediately do so,” Stepien said.

Stepien did not supply specifics about the irregularities he cited in a statement released on Wednesday.

Wisconsin does not have automatic recounts. Under Wisconsin law, a losing candidate can file a sworn petition, along with a filing fee to initiate a recount.

But Wisconsin’s top elections official, Meagan Wolfe, said the voting and ballot-counting process is open and transparent and bristled at the suggestion of widespread election fraud.

Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe defended the state’s election process, saying Wisconsin’s voting process was “the result of years of preparation and meticulously, carefully following the law.”

“It’s insulting for our local election officials to say that yesterday’s election was anything but an incredible success,” Wolfe told reporters in a news conference over Zoom Wednesday.