Trump campaign files lawsuit to stop vote counting, although he’s behind in Michigan

President Donald Trump at a Battle Creek rally, Dec. 18, 2019 | Andrew Roth

President Donald Trump’s campaign on Wednesday afternoon filed a lawsuit in the Michigan Court of Claims to halt the counting of remaining ballots in the state, even though he is behind Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in the vote count. 

With 96% reporting, Biden has 2,637,292 votes, 49.6%, and Trump has 2,599,944, or 48.9%. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said earlier Wednesday afternoon that about 100,000 ballots remain to be counted in the state. Most are from absentee voters in Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, which are expected to trend better for Biden.

This comes after Wisconsin was called by some outlets for Biden and the Trump campaign said they want a recount there — for ballots to be counted again. Biden currently leads in both the popular vote and the Electoral College.

Trump looked to be ahead in Michigan during the late evening and very early morning hours of Tuesday as the state tallied in-person votes, which typically skew Republican. However, Biden slowly accumulated additional votes and overtook Trump’s lead on Wednesday as the state processed absentee ballots, which often skew Democratic.

There is no evidence to suggest that widespread voter fraud occurs as a result of using absentee ballots, nor does there exist any evidence to suggest that Democrats are manipulating ballots or bringing in loads of illegitimate ballots to sway the presidential race. Republicans and Democrats are allowed to serve as poll observers while ballots are counted and they have been this election, as the Advance reported.

In a statement, the Trump campaign alleges they were not “provided with meaningful access to numerous counting locations” in Michigan.

 

“We have filed suit today in the Michigan Court of Claims to halt counting until meaningful access has been granted,” Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said in a statement. “We also demand to review those ballots which were opened and counted while we did not have meaningful access.”

Michigan won’t see complete results on election night (we never do). Here’s what else you need to know.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat who is overseeing election clerks and counting, has reiterated multiple times in previous days that counting all votes will take longer than usual. That’s because a huge portion of Michigan residents turned to using absentee ballots instead of voting in person, which poses COVID-19 health risks. 

In a speech early Wednesday morning Trump called for ballots to stop being counted in several states and threatened to file suit. He also claimed, without evidence, that counting ballots was fraudulent and falsely declared victory.

“We were getting ready for a big celebration. We were winning everything. And all of a sudden it was just called off,” Trump said. “This is a fraud on the American public. This is an embarrassment to our country.”

In response, Biden Campaign Manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said, “Nearly 100 million people cast their ballot before Election Day in the belief — and with the assurances from their state election officials — that their ballot would be counted. Now Donald Trump is trying to invalidate the ballot of every voter who relied on these assurances. If the president makes good on his threat to go to court to try to prevent the proper tabulation of votes, we have legal teams standing by ready to deploy to resist that effort. And they will prevail.

“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will stand for the right of all Americans to have their votes counted — no matter who they voted for. And we remain confident that when that process is completed, Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States.”

C.J. Moore
C.J. Moore covers the environment and the Capitol. She previously worked at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland as a public affairs staff science writer. She also previously covered crop sustainability and coal pollution issues for Great Lakes Echo. In addition, she served as editor in chief at The State News and covered its academics and research beat. She is a journalism graduate student at Michigan State University.