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What lawsuits has Trump's campaign team launched and why?

Some legal experts have said the lawsuits are an attempt to slow down Joe Biden being elected, rather than being based on genuine legal concerns.

Donald Trump speaking at a press conference.
Donald Trump speaking at a press conference.
Image: PA Images

DONALD TRUMP’S CAMPAIGN team has filed lawsuits in a number of states as Joe Biden moves closer to being elected US President.

Trump’s team has filed legal challenges in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia and Nevada.

His team is demanding better access for campaign observers at centres where ballots are being counted. The team has also made unsubstantiated claims about mail-in and absentee ballots.

After securing victories in Wisconsin and Michigan, Biden has 264 electoral college votes and needs to secure one of Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina or his home state Pennsylvania to reach the necessary 270 to claim the country’s top position.

You can read the latest updates on the count in our liveblog here.

The Trump campaign filed a number of legal motions in Pennsylvania, including attempts to stop the vote count and allow Republican Party members observe the vote count.

The state’s Democratic governor, Tom Wolf, said Trump’s “attempts to subvert the democratic process are disgraceful”.

Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said in a statement yesterday that the campaign would sue in Michigan to stop ballot counting until it can have more “meaningful access” to observe ballot processing and counting.

Michigan’s Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, insisted both parties and members of the public had been given access to the tallying, and that “all ballots are counted fairly and accurately”.

The state Republican Party and the Trump campaign have also sued in Georgia, asking a judge to remind election workers that under state law, late mail ballots — arriving after 7pm on election day — are not to be counted.  The lawsuit claims that late ballots may have been mixed with ballots that had arrived on time, but there is no proof of this.

The Nevada Supreme Court refused the Trump campaign’s effort on Monday night to halt mail ballot processing, allowing ballots be processed as planned on election day.

You can read a full breakdown of the lawsuits, by NBC News, here.

‘Admitting defeat is not plausible’

Some legal experts have said Trump’s lawsuits are an attempt to slow down Biden being elected, rather than being based on genuine legal concerns.

“Admitting defeat is not a plausible reaction so soon after the election, so they throw a lot of Hail Mary lawsuits at the wall and hope something sticks,” longtime Republican elections lawyer Ben Ginsberg told CNN.

Franita Tolson, a law professor and CNN contributor, agrees, saying: “I think much of the litigation is a longshot and unlikely to succeed.”

She said she believes “a big goal of this litigation is, in the short term, to change the narrative” from a potential Biden win to a conversation about fraud, even if those claims are not backed up by evidence.

Marc Elias, Democrats’ top election attorney, yesterday tweeted that the Trump campaign’s lawsuits were “meritless”.

Protests

Trump supporters in some states have gathered to demand counts be stopped – while in others they are insisting all ballots be counted.

After the president claimed, without evidence, that mail-in ballots in states such as Michigan had fraudulently favoured opponent Biden, fans of Trump appeared at the TCF Center in Detroit shouting “let us in” and “stop the count”.

Local media reported raucous scenes as Republican counters attempted to enter the building, alleging they were being unfairly kept out – a claim denied by local Democrats also kept outside.

In contrast, pro-Trump demonstrators showed up at counts in Nevada and Arizona demanding that all votes be counted.

Outside the counting centre in Maricopa County, Phoenix, a crowd of Republican supporters, some armed with guns, gathered shouting “count the votes” and “Fox News sucks”, after the right-wing TV network earlier called Arizona in Biden’s favour.

Observers from both parties were inside the election centre as ballots were processed and counted, and the procedure was live-streamed online at all times.

Several police officers blocked the entrance to the building, and the vote-counting went on into the night, Maricopa County Elections Department spokeswoman Megan Gilbertson said.

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2.56462033 Donald Trump supporters outside the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office in Phoenix yesterday. Source: AP Photo/Matt York/PA Images

Two top county officials — one a Democrat, the other a Republican — issued a statement expressing concern about how misinformation had spread about the integrity of the election process.

“Everyone should want all the votes to be counted, whether they were mailed or cast in person,” said the statement signed by Clint Hickman, the Republican chairman of Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, and Democratic supervisor Steve Gallardo. “An accurate vote takes time. This is evidence of democracy, not fraud.”

Meanwhile, thousands of Trump opponents took to the streets in cities across the US demanding a complete tally of ballots.

In Portland, Oregon, which has been a scene of regular protests for months, governor Kate Brown called out the National Guard as demonstrators engaged in what authorities said was widespread violence. Protesters in Portland were demonstrating about a range of issues, including police brutality and the counting of the vote.

“It’s important to trust the process, and the system that has ensured free and fair elections in this country through the decades, even in times of great crisis,” Brown said in a statement. “We are all in this together.”

In New York, hundreds of people paraded past boarded-up luxury stores on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, and in Chicago, demonstrators marched along a street across the river from Trump Tower.

Similar protests — sometimes about the election, sometimes about racial inequality — took place in at least a half-dozen cities, including Los Angeles, Houston, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis and San Diego.

Contains reporting from Press Association

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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