Philadelphia (USA), 05 Nov 2020 (The New York Times)
President Trump, whose campaign has filed lawsuits in several states questioning the integrity of the vote count and seeking to slow down the process, suffered a pair of legal setbacks Thursday when judges in Georgia and Michigan ruled against his campaign.
But the campaign notched a minor victory in Pennsylvania when a state appellate court acceded to its request to force Philadelphia election officials to grant its election observers better access to areas where workers are counting ballots.
Here was how the president’s re-election campaign was faring in the courts:
In Georgia, where Mr. Trump’s lead over Joseph R. Biden Jr. is shrinking, a superior court judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Trump campaign and the state Republican Party alleging that at least 53 ballots were potentially accepted after a 7 p.m. Election Day deadline by officials in Chatham County, home to Democratic-leaning Savannah. The judge, James F. Bass Jr., wrote that there was “no evidence” that the ballots were received late. Georgia’s Republican Party has said it plans to bring up to a dozen lawsuits in the state.
In Michigan, where news organizations projected Mr. Biden the winner on Wednesday, a judge denied a request by the Trump campaign to halt the counting of absentee ballots so that Republican challengers could be given what it called “meaningful access” to the absentee counting boards. Challengers were allowed to observe the process throughout the state, but in some locations their numbers were limited to follow social-distancing guidelines. A Court of Claims judge, Cynthia Stephens, noted that the lawsuit had been filed Wednesday afternoon, long after the count had begun, adding that “the essence of the count is completed.”
In Pennsylvania, where Mr. Biden was eroding Mr. Trump’s early lead as more votes were counted, a judge handed the Trump campaign a victory, forcing Philadelphia elections officials to allow Republican observers to watch the count from six feet away. They had previously been kept roughly 20 feet away from workers at the main Philadelphia canvassing area. “We don’t care if your observers are 18 feet away or 15 feet away or 6 feet away,’’ a Biden spokesman, Bill Russo, wrote on Twitter. “As long as election officials can do their job.” Still, Democrats appealed the decision, indicating that they believed the Trump campaign was trying to use closer access to slow the count in Philadelphia — a Democratic stronghold pivotal to Mr. Biden bid to capture the state, and with it the presidency — with protests in the counting room and more lawsuits.