As the waiting continues with so much doubt at this point as to where the pendulum may swing to, a Judge in the State of Georgia has denied a Republican attempt to question vote-counting, in the first ruling from a flurry of lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign.
The case was filed on Wednesday in Chatham County, after a Republican witness said, without providing evidence, that he did not know whether a pile of 53 ballots were received on time.
A Pennsylvania appellate court also on Thursday ruled in favour of guaranteeing Republican observers the right to watch ballot counts from no more than six feet away.
Commonwealth Judge Christine Fizzano Cannon, a Democrat, said effective immediately “all candidates, watchers, or candidate representatives be permitted to be present for the canvassing process pursuant to 25 P.S. § 2650 and/or 25 P.S. § 3146.8 and be permitted to observe all aspects of the canvassing process within 6 feet, while adhering to all COVID-19 protocols, including, wearing masks and maintaining social distancing”
President Donald Trump had filed multiple lawsuits and requested a recount of votes in Wisconsin.
Legal experts said the flurry of lawsuits had little chance of changing the outcome but might cast doubt on the process.
As Trump’s paths to victory narrowed, his campaign yesterday was ramping up legal challenges and filed its latest case in Nevada.
The President said his re-election campaign will challenge the vote in all states that were recently declared wins for former Vice President Joe Biden.
“All of the recent Biden claimed states will be legally challenged by us for Voter Fraud and State Election Fraud. Plenty of proof – just check out the media,” the president posted on Twitter yesterday.
The campaign also filed lawsuits in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Michigan and Wisconsin were declared wins for Biden, who has amassed 264 of the 270 Electoral College votes needed to take the White House. Trump has 214 electoral votes.
Other states are still tabulating mail-in and absentee ballots received on or before Election Day.
However, the second day of growing demonstrations over the integrity of the election started early yesterday in Philadelphia and other cities as ballot counting dragged on in a handful of states that would decide the outcome.
Biden was continuing to cut into Trump’s leads in Pennsylvania and Georgia while holding on to slim margins in Nevada and Arizona.
Thursday morning, Judge James Bass dismissed the suit in a one-sentence ruling, without giving his reasoning.
“After listening to the evidence, I’m denying the request, dismissing the petition.
Thank you, gentlemen,” he concluded at the end of the hour-long hearing in Savannah.
In their complaint, the Trump campaign argued: “Failing to ensure that absentee ballots received after the deadline are stored in a manner to ensure that such ballots are not inadvertently or intentionally counted, as required under Georgia law, harms the interests of the Trump Campaign and President Trump because it could lead to the dilution of legal votes cast in support of President Trump.”
He alleged but provided no evidence of, impropriety.
Pumphrey said he saw 53 ballots placed on a table separate from ballots in bins ready to go out to be counted.
Ben Perkins, a lawyer representing Chatham County, asked Pumphrey if he had evidence that the ballots arrived after 7 pm on Election Day, and Pumphrey said he did not know.
The board’s witness said the ballots were true, received on time, and Sabrina German, the director of Chatham County’s Voter Registration Office, backed up the board witness’s testimony.
Jeff Harris, from the Democratic Party of Georgia, said that both of the Republican witnesses conceded they had no idea about when those 53 ballots were received.
“They have been flatly incapable of proffering competent evidence to prove that point,” he said.
“Courts don’t resolve disputes about whether something may or may not be happening.”
Georgia is proving to be a fascinating, and surprising, a hot spot in the election.
The state had been reliably Republican since 1972, except when a southern Democrat was on the ticket – Georgians sided with native son Jimmy Carter in 1976 and 1980 and Bill Clinton in 1992.
In 2016, Trump won Georgia with 51 per cent of the vote. Hillary Clinton polled 46 per cent.
With 99 per cent counted, Trump’s early comfortable lead had vanished, and Biden was only 0.3 per cent behind him, as of noon yesterday, according to AP.
The latest move by Trump’s campaign was a lawsuit to be announced yesterday alleging voting fraud in Nevada, another of the crucial states where he narrowly trails Biden.
Some legal experts called the challenges a long shot unlikely to affect the eventual outcome of the election, one of the most unusual presidential races in modern U.S. history due to the coronavirus pandemic. Concern about the virus caused a huge jump in people voting by mail, delaying the results.
“The current legal manoeuvring is mainly a way for the Trump campaign to try to extend the ball game in the long-shot hope that some serious anomaly will emerge,” said Robert Yablon, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School.
“As of now, we haven’t seen any indication of systematic irregularities in the vote count,” he said.
Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said in a statement Wednesday the lawsuits were aimed at ensuring legal votes were counted.
“The lawsuits are meritless,” said Bob Bauer, who is part of Biden’s legal team. “They’re intended to give the Trump campaign the opportunity to argue the vote count should stop. It is not going to stop.”
Police in New York City, Denver, Minneapolis and Portland, Oregon, all reported they had arrested some protesters, often on charges of blocking traffic or similar misdemeanours.
Supporters of Biden have rallied around the slogan to “count every vote,” believing a complete tally would show the Democratic former vice president had beaten Republican President Donald Trump.
Ardent Trump backers have countered with cries to “protect the vote” in support of his campaign’s efforts to have some categories of ballots, including some votes submitted by mail, discarded.
Democrats and Republicans tied at 48 in the Senate election result. But, Democrats got 208 in House of Representatives against Republican’s 190.