Trump’s Election Lawsuits: Where the Court Fights Are Playing Out
U.S. President Donald Trump walks away after an announcement in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S. (Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Trump’s Election Lawsuits: Where the Court Fights Are Playing Out

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The Trump campaign has filed at least seven lawsuits in battleground states since Election Day to challenge the ballot counts.  The president released a statement Saturday rejecting the idea that Joe Biden had won and pledging his campaign “will start prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated.” So far, his suits have yet to give examples of widespread voter fraud.  Read More:  Trump’s Vote Count Lawsuits Fail in Court but Rouse His Base

If Biden’s lead expands in the electoral college vote, few of the court cases may have a real chance to change the final outcome. Trump has scored three wins and five losses since Nov. 3. Below is a list of key court cases to watch:

Pennsylvania

With 20 electoral college votes, Pennsylvania is the prize that helped push Biden past the needed 270 votes he needs to be the winner. The state has already seen its voting practices get challenged all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which voted 4-4 in October to leave intact a three-day extension to receive mailed ballots. Republicans are seeking a reversal of that ruling now that Justice Amy Coney Barrett is on the court.

Court: U.S. Supreme Court
Case Name: Republican Party of Pennsylvania v. Boockvar, 20-542; Scarnati v. Pennsylvania Democratic Party, 20-574
Status:  Appeal of state supreme court decision
Summary:  Two groups are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that Pennsylvania cannot count mail-in ballots that arrived up to three days after Election Day but were postmarked by Nov. 3, an extended deadline upheld by the state supreme court. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case before the election but explicitly left open the possibility of doing so after the vote. The Trump campaign filed to intervene in the case Wednesday, which could push the high court to take it up again. On Friday, state Republicans asked the court to order Pennsylvania counties to segregate mail ballots that arrived after Election Day, saying state officials haven’t gone far enough to make sure those votes can be invalidated if the GOP wins the legal challenge. Democrats said Thursday the number of ballots at issue likely would not "be large enough to be decisive in the races for president and House of Representatives.” 

Court: Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania
Case Name: Donald J. Trump for President Inc. v. Kathy Boockvar and County Boards of Elections, 602 MD 2020
Status: Trump win
Summary: President Donald Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee sued Pennsylvania’s top election official, Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, claiming she improperly extended the deadline for absentee and mail-in voters to provide any missing proof of identification from Nov. 9 to Nov. 12. They scored a victory on Thursday when a judge ordered Boockvar to segregate mail-in ballots from voters providing identification between Nov. 10 through Nov. 12, saying she would rule later on the validity of the deadline extension.

Court: Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania
Case Name: Hamm, Kelly, Allred, Horner, Connor and Hauser v. Boockvar, 600 MD 2020
Status:  Trump partial win
Summary:  A Pennsylvania state judge on Friday ordered county boards of election in the state to put aside provisional ballots cast on Election Day for voters who also sent absentee or mail-in ballots that arrived on time. The ruling came in a lawsuit brought a group of Pennsylvania Republicans, including Mike Kelly, who was elected to a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, that have been challenging what they believe to be defective ballots. The judge denied a request for a preliminary injunction.

Court: Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas, Northampton County (Easton).
Case Name:  In re: Motion for Injunctive Relief of Northampton County Republican Committee, C-48-CV-2020-6915,
Status: Trump loss
Summary: A judge dismissed a lawsuit Friday which was filed by a group that includes Republican candidates and officials who sought to block election officials in Montgomery County, which is mainly Democratic-leaning suburbs of Philadelphia, from notifying voters and helping them “cure” defective votes. The judge said the suit lacked merit.

Court: Pennsylvania Supreme Court
Case Name: Philadelphia County Canvassing Observation Appeal, 1094 CD 20
Status:  Trump win, Democrats have appealed the ruling 
Summary:  The Trump campaign sued on Election Day, claiming its representatives were being denied “reasonable access” to monitor the counting of votes in Philadelphia because they were kept at a far distance from the process. The suit was dismissed on Wednesday by a Philadelphia trial court, but an appellate court on Thursday reversed that ruling and ordered officials to allow all poll observers to watch the ballot-counting from a distance of six feet. Philadelphia election officials are seeking to appeal that decision to the state’s highest court.

Court: U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Case Name: Donald J. Trump for President Inc. v. Philadelphia County Board of Elections, 20-5533
Status:  Judge denied request for an injunction, saying an agreement was reached
Summary:  The Trump campaign filed an emergency request to stop the county Board of Elections “from continuing to count any ballots so long as Republican observers are not present as required by state law.”

Arizona

Biden is ahead by about 20,000 votes in the state, buoyed by a strong response in the state’s most populous county, Maricopa. The Trump campaign filed its first suit in the state after Biden was declared the winner by several media outlets Saturday.

Court: Superior Court for the State of Arizona
Case Name: Donald J. Trump for President Inc. v. Katie Hobbs
Status: Awaiting hearing
Summary: The lawsuit says potentially “up to thousands” of voters in Maricopa County were disenfranchised because poll workers directed them to override a ballot rejection by pressing a green button on the machine that actually disqualified their vote without further adjudication. 

Michigan

Biden is the projected winner of the state’s 16 electoral college votes, according to the Associated Press. The Trump campaign has tried to halt the count, saying it needs more access. 

Court: Michigan Court of Claims
Case Name: Donald J. Trump and Eric Ostergren v. Jocelyn Benson, 20-000225-MZ
Status: Trump loss
Summary: The Trump campaign claims it hasn’t been given meaningful access to counting locations to observe the process for opening and tabulating ballots as guaranteed under state law. A judge on Thursday rejected the request, saying “At this point, the essence of the count is completed, and the relief is completely unavailable.”
 

Georgia

Biden has a narrow lead in the state where a Democrat hasn’t won a presidential election since Bill Clinton in 1992. A recount will be held, Georigia’s secretary of state said.  

Court: Eastern Judicial Circuit of Georgia
Case Name: In Re: Enforcement of Election Laws and Securing Ballots Cast or Received after 7:00pm on November 3, 2020, SPCV20-00982
Status:  Trump loss
Summary: The campaign claims a Republican poll observer in Chatham County, which includes the Democratic-leaning city of Savannah, witnessed late ballots being illegally added to a stack of on-time absentee ballots. A judge rejected that assertion, ruling Thursday that “there is no evidence that the ballots referenced in the petition were received after 7 p.m. on Election Day, thereby making those ballots invalid.”

Nevada

The Trump campaign held a press conference Thursday announcing it would file a lawsuit alleging 10,000 votes were illegally cast by people no longer residing in the state. Instead, a suit was filed by a group that included Republican officials who claimed  “over 3,000 instances of ineligible individuals casting ballots.”

Court: U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada
Case Name:  Stokke et al v. Cegavske et al, 2:20-cv-02046-DJA
Status: Trump loss
Summary:  The case targeted Clark County, a heavily Democratic area that includes Las Vegas, with two Republican candidates for Congress claiming the election there was “plagued by irregularities.” The Republicans failed to produce evidence of wrongdoing , a federal judge ruled in tossing the suit. If they return “with more evidence,” the judge said, he’d reconsider the case.

Wisconsin

The Trump campaign has said it will seek a recount in Wisconsin, where he trails Biden. The president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, suggested another lawsuit could be filed in the state, claiming “exactly the same thing happened” as in Pennsylvania in terms of denying the Trump campaign access to the ballot count. No suit has apparently been filed, although one Democrat has asked a judge a New York to step into the matter. 

Court: U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
Case Name: Pierson v. Stepien, 20-CV-9266
Status: Filed Nov. 4
Summary: A Wisconsin woman who voted for Joe Biden asked a federal court in Manhattan to block the Trump campaign’s manager, its lawyer “and any of their agents” from seeking the launch of a recount in Wisconsin, claiming in a lawsuit that a “peculiar” state law allowing any candidate with ample cash to demand a recount has fueled “a scorched Earth tactic to sow discord and paranoia in the fields of Wisconsin.”

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