REVIEW - Trump Escalates Legal War To End Vote Count As Biden Closes Gap In King Swing States

REVIEW - Trump Escalates Legal War to End Vote Count as Biden Closes Gap in King Swing States

WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 06th November, 2020) The US presidential election remains too close to call in at least four battleground states as the Trump campaign filed several lawsuits to halt vote counting over observer access issues and other alleged irregularities.

As of Thursday evening, Democratic challenger Joe Biden is creeping closer to the 270 electoral votes needed to win the election. Fox news and AP projected that the former vice president has 264 electoral votes to President Donald Trump's 214. But other outlets have only awarded Biden 253, because they consider the race in Arizona, which offers 11 votes, too close to call. The Trump campaign has slammed media outlets for calling the race early in Biden's favor.

However, counting continues in four other states that are too close to call, three days after the November 3 election. President Donald Trump is ahead by thin margins in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Georgia, although Biden has been closing the gap.

The US presidential and congressional elections on November 3 saw a record level of participation, including an unprecedented deluge of mail-in ballots. Due to the pandemic, dozens of states expanded rules to allow mailed ballots, a process Trump repeatedly said would lead to voter fraud.

Some states, in order to accommodate the influx, extended the deadline for receiving mailed ballots. In a Tweet on Thursday Trump said any vote that came in after the November 3 election day "will not be counted!"

Trump has filed lawsuits to halt vote counting, demand recounts, and expand observer access, along with complaints of irregularities, in several states including Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada, Georgia, and Wisconsin.

The president said they have witnessed massive voter fraud and even vowed to file a nationwide lawsuit and eventually take the fight to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Ahead of the election, Trump successfully fast-tracked the confirmation of his Supreme Court nominee, Amy Comey Barrett, to solidify the court's conservative majority. Trump predicted that the presidential election would be decided before the Supreme Court.

Court battles were waged on Thursday over ballot counting in the city of Philadelphia and two other Pennsylvania counties.

Trump is leading Pennsylvania by less than 2 percent with almost 90% of votes counted, but many ballots outstanding are from Democratic-leaning areas, such as the city of Philadelphia. The state is the biggest prize remaining, with its 20 electoral votes, and could be decided by a small margin of votes, so dismissing ballots due to irregularities could be decisive. Pennsylvania is widely seen as a "must-win" state for Trump.

On Thursday, the Trump campaign filed a lawsuit seeking to halt the vote count in the city of Philadelphia to ensure greater access for Republican election observers who want to ensure the remaining ballots are counted fairly. The Trump campaign said it was provided a court order to observe ballot counting from 6 feet away and vote counting was temporarily paused to allow officials to move closer.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court said it would review an appeal filed by the city of Philadelphia.

The Trump administration then filed a Federal lawsuit against the Philadelphia County board of Elections seeking to temporarily halt vote counting in the city of Philadelphia unless Republican observers are allowed access to observe the polls, a court filing revealed.

Alleghany County officials agreed to halt ballot counting until Friday after a court agreement over some 29,000 disputed ballots, CNN reported, citing County Councilwoman Bethany Hallam. The agreement is a result of a legal challenge over misprinted ballots that had to be reissued to some voters, according to the media outlet.

Other Republican candidates in Pennsylvania filed legal challenges to reject provisional and mail-in ballots that were corrected after being flagged for defects.

A judge in Georgia dismissed on Thursday the Trump campaign lawsuit alleging that poll watchers witnessed unprocessed absentee ballots thrown into a processed batch waiting to be tabulated, the report said.

Trump's lead in Georgia has narrowed to 9,525 votes, about 0.2 percentage points, with 99 percent of votes counted, Fox News reported.

In a Nevada lawsuit, the Trump campaigned alleged that 10,000 people voted in the Nevada election despite no longer living in the state. Biden is leading in the swing state of Nevada by less than 1 percent with 83% of votes counted.

A court in Michigan, where Biden is already projected as the winner by 3% with 99% votes in, rejected the Trump campaign lawsuit to halt vote-counting. The ruling said the issues raised by the Trump campaign over observer access lie with local officials, not the courts of federal government.

Former election official in the state of California Bill Boerum told Sputnik on Thursday that the spate of lawsuits so far is not too surprising. The 2020 election, he said, will be historic when it comes to legal challenges.

"This election will be the most litigated," Boerum said.

SUPREME COURT ODDS AGAINST TRUMP

In 2000, George W. Bush won the election after a long legal battle over vote counting in the state of Florida was settled before the Supreme Court. It is unclear, however, whether Trump has a solid case to bring his grievances before the highest court, according to some experts, because of jurisdiction issues.

"Trump has no basis to win... in courts. The states that he is contesting are mostly Democratic-controlled unlike the Florida case where the decision by state election officials was allowed to stand by the Supreme Court," a member of the Albany County Democratic Committee, Anton Konev, told Sputnik. "Even the Supreme court is not able to turn over the will of the voters."

Eddie Hailes Jr, Managing Director of racial justice group Advancement Project, told Sputnik that in the case of Pennsylvania, state officials were wise to take action in how they processed the ballots, to give the Trump campaign less fodder for a high court challenge.

"The [Pennsylvania] secretary of state separated those ballots which came later. If the Supreme Court rules that these can't be included, they've already been separated, which was smart. This would only affect that limited number. Trump hoped all the ballots were co-mingled with those that came in a month ago," Hailes said.

Paul Poast, an assistant professor in the department of political science at the University of Chicago said Trump's strategy may not be comprehensive enough to dismiss the required number of ballots.

"Trump's chances for victory hinge on having votes thrown out. This might be possible with votes that arrived after election day. But many of the ballots still being counted arrived before election day," Poast told Sputnik.

University of Illinois Law Professor Francis Boyle, however, said he believes Trump does have a chance to actually win a case before the Republican-packed court. Trump was perhaps wise to tap Barrett for the court considering her admiration for Justice Clarence Thomas, and the role he played in 2000.

"She deliberately chose to have Thomas swear her in. Thomas is the last remaining Justice of the infamous Bush v. Gore decision that gave the election to Bush Jr by a 5-4 vote. So right now I think we are in the very beginning of Trump's strategy to win the election," Boyle concluded.