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Lawsuits pile up as Trump campaign alleges voter fraud in at least 5 states

Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for President Donald Trump, speaks during a news conference on legal challenges to vote counting in Pennsylvania, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for President Donald Trump, speaks during a news conference on legal challenges to vote counting in Pennsylvania, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
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The Trump campaign promised to unveil a raft of new lawsuits this week, alleging voter fraud and irregularities affected the outcome of the election in battleground states.

On Monday afternoon, members of the Trump campaign announced two new lawsuits in Pennsylvania and Michigan, relying mostly on witnesses' sworn statements but no concrete evidence. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany asked the public for "patience" while the campaign investigates further.

"This election is not over," McEnany told reporters Monday. "We've only begun the process of obtaining an accurate honest vote count."

Despite a lack of evidence, President Donald Trump and members of his legal team have made serious accusations of irregularities so sweeping that they could overturn the projections of Vice President Joe Biden as the winner. These claims come after months of the president telling his supporters that the only way he would lose "is massive fraud."

"The Biden selection by the Crooked Media is based on unlawful votes in PA, Mich, GA, Wisc, Nevada et al.," Trump attorney and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani wrote in a tweet that was flagged by Twitter. "We will prove it all."

So far, the majority of the lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign have not openly alleged voter fraud. Most challenged the process of tabulating votes or questioned the legitimacy of late-arriving ballots. Others implicated fraud or irregularities by arguing that GOP election observers were kept from closely monitoring the vote count.

Even if the Trump campaign can prove some voting irregularities, experts say they will not likely to close Biden's substantial lead in several states.

"When you have election contests in very close races, usually you're talking about a couple hundred votes or maybe a thousand dividing the candidates. But not tens of thousands," said Gerard Magliocca, a constitutional law professor at Indiana University's McKinney School of Law. "There's just no precedent for a contest like that succeeding."

In an interview Sunday on Fox News, Giuliani claimed to have up to "900,000 votes that were completely invalid" after three days of investigation. The campaign has also secured hundreds of sworn affidavits from observers and citizens claiming to have witnessed fraudulent or questionable behavior.

However, the campaign has the burden of proof to convince a judge to approve an audit of potential fraud or irregularities.

"That requires some kind of evidence," said Morgan Marietta, a professor of constitutional politics at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. "There's an incentive to do the recounts and audits, to establish there wasn't fraud. But right now, there's no evidence we've seen of widespread fraud. Certainly not enough to change the outcome."

Below are the states where the Trump campaign is litigating the election results and where it is leveling accusations of voter fraud that could become lawsuits:


LAWSUITS: Several cases are being litigated in Pennsylvania, a state that Trump believed was securely in his column but shifted for Biden over the weekend, giving the Democrat a lead of 45,711 votes or 0.7%.

On Monday, the Trump campaign and two voters filed suit alleging that Republican election observers and Republican voters were treated differently from Democratic voters. The suit was based on Republican election workers allegedly being blocked from observing the vote count in Philadelphia and claims that GOP voters were not allowed to "cure" defective ballots, while Democratic voters were.

Trump campaign general counsel Matt Morgan told reporters Monday that there were over 682,000 ballots tabulated in Allegheny County and Philadelphia outside the view of Trump election observers. "We believe that a meaningful review of those ballots could discern that there were ballots that were illegally counted," Morgan said.

The campaign is seeking to prevent the state from certifying the results until it can review the votes. Pennsylvania has until Nov. 23 to certify results.

The U.S. Supreme Court weighed in twice, ordering Pennsylvania election officials to segregate ballots that arrived after 8 p.m. on Nov. 3. State officials affirmed that the ballots were being tallied separately and held securely. The court order did not prevent the ballots from being included in the final vote count.

The Supreme Court must still rule on the merits of the underlying case, where Republicans charge that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overstepped its authority by ruling that ballots could be counted up to three days after Nov. 3. Those ballots will be sufficient to overturn the election but the Supreme Court's ruling will provide guidance for how courts handle future elections.

Other lawsuits filed by Republicans are attempting to stop the vote count in two counties, on the grounds that there were no GOP election workers present in Philadelphia and that roughly 600 voters were allowed to cure ballot deficiencies after Election Day in Montgomery County. On Monday, McEnany raised questions about why some voters were allowed to cure ballots and others were not.

Another more wide-ranging lawsuit ordered all 67 counties to segregate deficient mail-in ballots if the voters failed to provide supplemental identification by Monday, Nov. 9.

ALLEGATIONS: Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani told Fox News on Sunday that he had 60 or 70 witnesses in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh who were willing to testify that they were kept out of vote-counting rooms. Giuliani charged that was a violation of civil rights "for conducting an unfair election" and that the state had denied the observers equal protection under the law, which allows for partisan observers to watch the vote count.

The president's attorney suggested invalidating up to 450,000 ballots that were counted when GOP election observers were not on-site.

Giuliani also claimed that dead people had voted in Philadelphia but did not point to specific evidence in the 2020 presidential election.

At a Saturday press conference at a landscaping business on the outskirts of Philadelphia, members of the Trump team disputed the election results. "Networks don't get to decide elections, courts do," Giuliani claimed, though technically voters decide elections. "Courts set aside elections when they’re illegal," he continued, claiming to have enough evidence to disqualify several thousand ballots.


LAWSUITS: Nevada is one of the few states where the Trump campaign and its allies have filed lawsuits formally charging voter fraud. Biden is ahead of the president by 36,186 votes.

Last week, the Trump campaign announced it was filing a lawsuit claiming that at least 10,000 people voted in Nevada after moving to another state. The campaign said it had the names of 3,062 of these voters.

Attorneys with the Trump campaign wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, directing his attention to "criminal voter fraud" in Nevada.

Another lawsuit, which was backed by the Trump campaign but filed by individuals, claimed that the signature verification system was not being used as intended. The lawsuit claimed this resulted in "over 3,000 instances of ineligible individuals casting ballots." The lawsuit revolved around Jill Stokke, a 79-year old legally blind woman. Stokke was featured at a Trump campaign press conference claiming she was not allowed to vote in person on Election Day because someone had already sent in a mail-in ballot with her signature.

A top election official in Clark County said he personally dealt with Stokke's case and she dropped the charges shortly after filing the lawsuit. A judge also dismissed the case Thursday on the grounds citing no evidence of voting machines improperly matching signatures on ballots.


LAWSUITS: On Monday, the Trump campaign announced a lawsuit demanding election officials block certification of election results from Wayne County, home to Detroit. The lawsuit included several affidavits from individuals claiming to have witnessed poll workers encouraging people to vote a certain way, checking ballots to see who a person vote for and allegations that GOP election observers were blocked from watching the vote count. It does not appear the campaign has additional evidence beyond the affidavits.

Two lawsuits were filed and rejected in Michigan last week but only one by the Trump campaign. The Trump lawsuit demanding a halt to vote-counting in Detroit after a GOP election observer claimed he was excluded. A judge could not find evidence that Trump's election observers were disenfranchised.

ALLEGATIONS OF FRAUD: On Monday, Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel leveled a series of accusations of voter fraud in the state that Biden won by 2.7% and more than 140,000 votes.

McDaniel said there were thousands of reports of poll watchers being intimidated. She cited 131 affidavits complete in Michigan testifying to irregularities and more than 2,800 incident reports. "We should all be alarmed by this no matter where you are on the political spectrum," McDaniel said.

One allegation that has since been dispelled was that a software glitch in Antrim County caused 6,000 votes to be tabulated incorrectly. The Trump campaign and Michigan GOP used the claim to cast doubt on the results in 47 other counties that used the same software. The Michigan Department of State clarified that the mistake was the result of human error, not a widespread technical problem.

Former House speaker and Trump surrogate Newt Gingrich also claimed to have a list of 1,400 dead people who voted in the election but that claim has not been verified.

McDaniel also referred to a U.S. Postal Service whistleblower who claimed he was told to mark an earlier postmark date on ballots that arrived at the facility after Election Day. Authorities have not yet investigated the claims. Fact checkers at Politifact noted that in Michigan, the postmark date on a ballot doesn't matter, as long as it arrives on Election Day.


LAWSUITS: State election officials announced Friday that they would begin a recount. Biden appears to have won the state with a razor-thin margin of 10,353 votes.

Members of the Trump campaign have said they are confident that the recount will turn up evidence of voter fraud and irregularities. In a statement Sunday, Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, who was appointed by the Trump campaign to oversee the Georgia recount, said he believed he would find evidence of "improperly harvested ballots and other irregularities that will prove that President Trump won Georgia fairly."

Two days after the election, the Trump campaign filed an ill-fated lawsuit in Chatham County, home to Savannah, claiming the election board mishandled late ballots. The campaign relied on testimony from an election worker who said, without evidence, that late-arriving ballots were improperly mixed with those that arrived before 7 p.m. Election Day. County election officials refuted the individual's allegations.

The case was dismissed the same day it was filed by a county judge who ruled there was "no evidence" the ballots in question arrived after the deadline and "no evidence" the county board of elections failed to comply with the law.

ALLEGATIONS: On Monday, Georgia's Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger attempted to dispel several claims of fraud, including allegations of "double-voting" in Gwinnett County. The county ballots had multiple pages and some observers mistook the vote tabulating software's report of pages counted for ballots counted.

Raffensperger also debunked a video purporting to show people finding ballots in a dumpster, explaining that they found empty security envelopes.

The secretary of state acknowledged reports of irregularities but no evidence to date. He affirmed state authorities would investigate any issues to "stop illegal voting and prevent double-voting now and in the future."

"When the margins are this tight, every little thing matters," Raffensperger told reporters Monday.


LAWSUITS: On Friday, the Trump campaign announced a lawsuit in Arizona claiming to have evidence of poll workers mishandling ballots and discarding votes in Maricopa County, the state's most populous county.

According to the lawsuit, the county struggled with new tabulating machines that gave some voters an error message after detecting an "overvote." Instead of poll workers instructing voters to correct the problem, the Trump campaign alleged that poll workers instructed them to override the error. "The result is that the voting machines disregarded votes cast by voters in person on Election Day in Maricopa County," general counsel Morgan claimed.

The lawsuit requested an audit and manual examination of overvoted ballots. The Trump team cited several witnesses who swore they witnessed poll workers misdirecting voters.

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Another lawsuit was dropped by GOP plaintiffs Saturday. The suit made unsubstantiated claims that some ballots marked with Sharpie pens were not counted. Election officials were able to bring evidence showing that those ballots were properly counted.

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