Trump campaign files lawsuit to halt vote count in Michigan, Pennsylvania as election still uncalled

Trump campaign files lawsuit to halt vote count in Michigan, Pennsylvania as election still uncalled

The latest:

  • Biden wins Wisconsin, Trump gets 2nd Congressional District in Maine.
  • Electoral college vote stands at 237 for Biden, 214 for Trump.
  • Trump says he will win the election, despite ongoing vote counts in several states, and neither candidate reaching the required 270 electoral college votes.
  • Biden campaign calls Trump’s claims ‘outrageous, unprecedented and incorrect.’
  • Get all the U.S. election results as they come in.
  • How the electoral college determines who wins the U.S. presidency.
  • What do you want to know about the U.S. election? Email us at Ask@cbc.ca.

The fate of the U.S. presidency hung in the balance on Wednesday as President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden fought for familiar battleground states Michigan and Pennsylvania, which could prove crucial in determining who wins the White House. 

Trump’s campaign said on Wednesday it has filed a lawsuit trying to halt the vote count in Michigan.

The latest count gives Biden a small lead in the state, but the race is still too close to call.

Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said in a statement on Wednesday that the 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.”

WATCH | Is there a case to halt counting in Michigan?

Elections attorney J.C. Planas questioned the Trump campaign’s claim that it had no meaningful access to the counting of Michigan ballots, which is the basis of the lawsuit it filed today. 3:56

The campaign said it is also suing to temporarily stop the vote count in Pennsylvania, claiming lack of “transparency.”

Justin Clark, Trump’s deputy campaign manager, said in a statement on Wednesday that the campaign is “suing to stop Democrat election officials from hiding the ballot counting and processing from our Republican poll observers.” He said the campaign wants “to temporarily halt counting until there is meaningful transparency and Republicans can ensure all counting is done above board and by the law.”

There have been no reports of fraud or any type of ballot concerns out of Pennsylvania. The state had more than 3.1 million mail-in ballots that take time to count, and an order allows them to be counted up until Friday if they are postmarked by Nov. 3.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said he had “promised Pennsylvanians that we would count every vote and that’s what we’re going to do.”

WATCH | Pennsylvania officials say every vote will be counted: 

Saying the results may not be known today, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf assured the public that every vote cast in the U.S. presidential election will be counted and that the process will be free of outside influence.   2:42

Biden won battleground state Wisconsin on Wednesday afternoon, while Trump took part of Maine’s electoral college vote, bringing the tally to 237 for Biden and 214 for Trump, with 270 needed to win the presidency.

Both campaigns confident they can win

Top advisers for both Biden and Trump continue to express confidence that they respectively had the likelier path to victory in the outstanding states.

The margins were exceedingly tight in states across the country, with the candidates trading wins in battlegrounds. Trump held Florida, the largest of the swing states, along with Texas and Ohio.

The unsettled presidential race came as Democrats entered election night confident not only in Biden’s prospects, but also in the party’s chances of taking control of the Senate. However, the Republicans held several seats that were considered vulnerable, including in Iowa, Texas and Kansas. Disappointed Democrats lost House seats but were expected to retain control there.

The high-stakes election was held against the backdrop of a historic pandemic that has killed more than 232,000 Americans and wiped away millions of jobs.

Both candidates spent months pressing dramatically different visions for the nation’s future, including on racial justice, and voters responded in huge numbers, with more than 100 million people casting votes ahead of election day.

Trump, in an extraordinary move from the White House, issued premature claims of victory and said he would take the election to the Supreme Court to stop the counting. It was unclear exactly what legal action he could try to pursue.

WATCH | ‘We did win this election,’ Trump tells supporters:

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said as far as he’s concerned he and the Republican Party have won the U.S. election. He said he will go to the U.S. Supreme Court and wants voting to stop. However, several states are still counting votes that have already been cast. 1:12

McConnell discounts Trump’s claim of victory

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell discounted the president’s quick claim of victory, saying it would take a while for states to conduct their vote counts. The Kentucky Republican said Wednesday that “claiming you’ve won the election is different from finishing the counting.”

The president stayed out of the public eye, but he took to Twitter to suggest, without evidence, that the election was being tainted by late-counted ballots. Twitter flagged a number of Trump’s tweets, noting some of the information shared was “disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process.”

Biden briefly appeared in front of supporters in Delaware and urged patience, saying the election “ain’t over until every vote is counted, every ballot is counted.”

“It’s not my place or Donald Trump’s place to declare who’s won this election,” Biden said. “That’s the decision of the American people.”

Vote tabulations routinely continue beyond election day, and states largely set the rules for when the count has to end. In presidential elections, a key point is the date in December when presidential electors met. That’s set by federal law.

Campaigns brace for legal challenges

Trump appeared to suggest those ballots should not be counted, and that he would fight for that outcome in court, but legal experts were dubious of his declaration. Trump has appointed three of the Supreme Court’s nine justices including, most recently, Amy Coney Barrett.

The Trump campaign on Wednesday pushed Republican donors to dig deeper into their pockets to help finance legal challenges. Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel spoke plainly during a donor call: “The fight’s not over. We’re in it.”

Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, made a pitch on Twitter to supporters to pitch in $5 to help pay for a fight that could “stretch on for weeks.”

Democrats typically outperform Republicans in mail voting, while the Republicans look to make up ground in election day turnout. That means the early margins between the candidates could be influenced by which type of votes — early or election day — were being reported by the states.

Throughout the campaign, Trump cast doubt about the integrity of the election and repeatedly suggested that mail-in ballots should not be counted. Both campaigns had teams of lawyers at the ready to move into battleground states if there were legal challenges.

WATCH | Politics professor calls situation ‘a full-blown constitutional crisis’:

Published at Wed, 04 Nov 2020 20:57:50 +0000