In the most 2020 twist ever, the 2020 Election has turned into a uniquely challenging multi-day event. Although few anticipated a clear result on Election Day due to the influx of mail-in votes, not many people anticipated that we would be entering day 3 with still no way to predict the winner of the election. President Donald J Trump’s campaign lawyers are challenging the vote counts in 3 states after they allege a lack of transparency in the process, and irregularities in Georgia.
Pennsylvania and the 3-Day Question
In Pennsylvania, Trump’s lawyers are challenging one specific rule that allows votes to be accepted up to 3 days after Election Day, as long as they were post-marked by the cut-off date.
Per CBS, “The Trump campaign on Wednesday asked the Supreme Court to allow the campaign to join an appeal from Pennsylvania Republicans seeking to throw out mail-in ballots received three days after Election Day. In October, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court granted the extension after the U.S. Postal Service warned state elections officials that it couldn’t deliver and return ballots within the state’s deadline.
‘Given last night’s results, the vote in Pennsylvania may well determine the next President of the United States,’ the campaign’s filing said. ‘And this Court, not the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, should have the final say on the relevant and dispositive legal questions.'”
According to the Trump campaign, the late-arrival votes unfairly skew and change results of the election, which currently has the President in the lead in that state. As the late-arrival votes are counted, that lead is shrinking. Republicans in Pennsylvania filed the original lawsuit weeks ago, but the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected their attempt to overturn the law that allows for the 3-day window of acceptance for mail-in ballots. If the Trump campaign can convince the SCOTUS to overturn the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision, discarding the late arrival ballots could insure Trump’s victory in the state.
In Michigan, Trump Officials Denied Access to Voting Oversight
In Michigan, the President’s lawyers filed suit after they allege their own vote counting watchers were denied access to the process.
Associated Press reports, “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. She’s accused of undermining the ‘constitutional right of all Michigan voters … to participate in fair and lawful elections.’ Michigan Democrats said the suit was a longshot.
Poll watchers from both sides were plentiful Wednesday at one major polling place in question — the TCF Center in Detroit, The Associated Press observed. They checked in at a table near the entrance to the convention center’s Hall E and strolled among the tables where ballot processing was taking place. In some cases, they arrived en masse and huddled together for a group discussion before fanning out to the floor. Uniformed Detroit police officers were on hand to make sure everyone was behaving.”
If the President’s lawsuit succeeds in Michigan, it’s unclear what effect it would have on voting results.
Irregularities in Georgia
According to AP, “The Georgia lawsuit filed in Chatham County essentially asks a judge to ensure the state laws are being followed on absentee ballots. Campaign officials said they were considering peppering a dozen other counties around the state with similar claims around absentee ballots.”
A Republican on the ground in Chatham County alleges that 53 ballots that arrived too late to be counted were added to a stack of legitimate ballots before being counted. Those 53 ballots are at the center of the lawsuit in Georgia.
If the president’s lawsuit succeeds in Georgia, potentially thousands of ballots could be discarded for arriving too late to be valid. It’s unclear how they would retroactively effect ballots already counted that may have arrived late. It’s worth noting that Chatham County officials deny the allegation, and Georgia election officials assert that the process has been fair and transparent across the state.
Do the Lawsuits Have a Chance at Succeeding?
Unfortunately for the President, none of the lawsuits are accompanied by significant evidence. Although the claims made in the lawsuits are alarming and should be addressed, it remains to be seen if any of the allegations will be found to be substantive. However, the lawsuits set the legal framework for the President and his campaign to dispute the election results, should they end in Joe Biden‘s favor.
As of now, several states are up in the air. Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Georgia are all big question marks on the Electoral College map. If the allegations of the President pan out to be true, some of the states most at risk of causing a big loss for Trump could work instead in his favor. It’s common for presidential campaigns to file lawsuits in states where results are questionable, so the Trump lawsuits are par for the course. As the legal battles play out, all the President can do is watch, wait, and hope.