In the critical days after the 2020 election, the campaign to reelect President Donald Trump has filed multiple lawsuits alleging that election officials engaged in various abuses to depress the Trump vote and to exclude Trump election monitors from observing the ballot processing.
The Trump campaign predicted an outright win in states where votes are yet to be counted, but officials also raised the alarm about alleged voter fraud. “Democrats are lying, cheating, and stealing across the country,” Campaign Manager Bill Stepien argued in a call with reporters on Thursday. “It’s an absolute disgrace.”
“This would make the Chicago Democrats in 1960 blush,” he added, referring to the Chicago politicians who altered the vote for John F. Kennedy in the 1960 presidential election.
The campaign has filed lawsuits in four separate states.
News outlets had not called the presidential race in Michigan until Wednesday afternoon. Before the Associated Press called the race for Joe Biden, the Trump campaign had filed a lawsuit claiming that campaign officials had been excluded from observing the ballot counting process, in violation of Michigan law.
“As votes in Michigan continue to be counted, the presidential race in the state remains extremely tight as we always knew it would be. 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,” the campaign said in a statement.
“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. President Trump is committed to ensuring that all legal votes are counted in Michigan and everywhere else,” the campaign added.
According to Decision Desk, about 95 percent of the votes have been counted in Michigan and Biden enjoys about a 150,000-vote lead in the Wolverine State.
On Wednesday evening, the Trump campaign filed a second lawsuit in Georgia, claiming that election officials had added late and illegal absentee ballots to a stack of on-time absentee ballots.
“Today, a Republican poll observer in Georgia witnessed 53 late absentee ballots illegally added to a stack of on-time absentee ballots in Chatham County,” Justin Clark, deputy campaign manager and senior counsel at the Trump campaign, said in a statement.
“We will not allow Democrat election officials to steal this election from President Trump with late, illegal ballots. President Trump and the Georgia Republican Party have filed suit to require all Georgia counties to separate any and all late-arriving ballots from all legally cast ballots to ensure a free, fair election in which only legal, valid ballots count,” Clark added. “We look forward to the court swiftly resolving this issue and to President Trump’s upcoming repeat win in Georgia.”
On Thursday, Chatham County Superior Court Judge James Bass dismissed the lawsuit after an hour-long hearing. Bass insisted that there is no evidence that the ballots in question arrived after 7 p.m. on Election Day.
As of Thursday afternoon, Trump leads Biden by about 13,000 votes in Georgia, with about 99 percent reporting, according to Decision Desk. That represents a razor-thin margin of about 0.25 percent.
Later in the afternoon on Wednesday, the Republican National Committee (RNC) and the Trump campaign sued Pennsylvania Secretary Kathy Boockvar (D), challenging her decision to extended the voter ID deadline in alleged violation of state law.
The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) requires that certain first-time voters prove identification when voting. In the days before the election, Boockvar moved the deadline for these first-time voters who cast absentee ballots to provide missing proof of identification days after the deadline. The campaign argued that this move “flagrantly violates the state election code and will only serve to further delay the results of Pennsylvania’s outcome and raise questions about which ballots should be lawfully counted.”
“Shrouded in secrecy, Democrats continue to make voting changes in the eleventh hour that will only dilute the integrity of the vote, delay results, and diminish confidence in the outcome,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel said in a statement. “The RNC and Trump Campaign are prepared to take all legal actions to ensure the integrity of the election, and that includes holding rogue Democrat officials accountable.”
“The eyes of a nation are on Pennsylvania, and they must follow the letter of the law that this election and American voters demand,” McDaniel added.
Boockvar has defended her extension of the deadline, claiming that her last-minute rule change allowed “more eligible voters to be enfranchised.”
Update Nov. 5, 5:40 p.m. Eastern: The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania sided with the RNC and the Trump campaign, enforcing the proper statutory deadline in contradiction of Boockvar’s last-minute alteration.
As of Thursday afternoon, Trump leads in Pennsylvania with 90,000 votes over Biden and approximately 99 percent reporting, according to Decision Desk. That represents a lead of just over 1 percent.
Exclusive: AZ Poll Workers Gave Voters a Sharpie to Vote and Then Threw Out Their Ballots, Lawsuit Claims
On Thursday, the Trump campaign sued Clark County officials in Nevada, claiming that observers have been excluded from the ballot-counting process, that non-residents have voted in Nevada, and that some voters had been disenfranchised by mail-in voting.
Former Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R-Nev.) claimed that campaign observers have not been allowed to watch the ballot-counting process. The lawsuit claims that non-residents voted, and that election officials are tallying those ballots. Nevada residents need to live in the state for at least 30 days before they can legally cast a ballot.
The lawsuit cites a first-hand account from a woman, Jill Stokke, who claims she went to her polling place on Tuesday but election officials said she had already cast her ballot. Stokke claims she always votes in person and that someone stole her mail-in ballot, voting for her.
Joe Gloria, Clark County’s voter registrar, said he “personally dealt with” her issue. “She brought her claim to me. We reviewed her ballot, and in our opinion, it is her signature. We also gave her an opportunity to provide a statement, if she wanted to object to that and provide a challenge to that. She refused to do so. A member of the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office investigations team also interviewed her, and they had no issue with the assistance we tried to give her.”
Stokke reportedly has trouble seeing and she told local media she cannot read the print on a ballot without help.
“Due to all the irregularities,” Laxalt said the campaign is asking the state “to stop the counting of improper votes.”
Gloria insisted that officials have done everything they can to accommodate observers and “are not aware of any improper ballots being processed.”
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.