More than a week after Election Day, President Donald Trump is still promising victory to his supporters and Republican attorneys are still claiming election prospects in half a dozen states. But is the election result really in doubt?
Conversations with more than a dozen state election chiefs across the country and with election lawyers and experts indicate that states such as Wisconsin and Georgia probably won’t be moved to Trump’s column. Nor does he think the legal challenges – even if some are successful – would undo the former Vice President Joe Biden’s projected Electoral College victory.
Despite the number of lawsuits filed and the public rhetoric that accompanies them, experts say, few have evidence to survive in court. State election officials, Republicans and Democrats alike, told NBC News that there is no evidence of fraud in their states to support Trump’s claims.
“Any amount of investigation suggests that the process is actually working exceptionally well,” said Michigan Democratic Secretary Jocelyn Benson, who suggests that Biden is leading in Michigan by about 150,000 votes.
Benson said she sees many of the GOP lawsuits as legal claims “by issuing press releases. That’s why we see so many being treated as meritless, but instead eroding public confidence in our election process is.”
Justin Levitt, an election law expert and Loyola Marymount Law School professor who worked in the Justice Department during the Obama administration, said many of the legal claims are “outrageous, and not supported by facts on the ground as we call them Know… “The judges have done remarkably well so far across the board, no matter who appointed them, recognizing nonsense for what it is. “
NBC News spoke to two other non-partisan legal experts, who shared Levitt’s assessment.
While Trump and his supporters have accused social media and cable television of cheating, lawyers who are suppressing claims of fraud in court are more constrained in what they can say. There are potential professional consequences, like restrictions from the bar for making unsupported claims.
Earlier this week in Pennsylvania, a judge demanded that a Republican lawyer explicitly say if he was alleging fraud.
“I am asking you a specific question and I am looking for a specific question. Are you claiming that there is any fraud in relation to these 592 disputed ballots?” Asked the judge.
“Currently to my knowledge, no,” the lawyer replied. He gave the same answer when the judge asked whether there had been “undue or undue influence” in relation to similarly disputed ballots.
On Thursday, a Trump campaign lawyer, Corey Langhofer, said in a court room in Arizona, “This is a case of fraud. We are not alleging fraud. We are not saying that no person tries to steal the election.” Has been doing.” Langhofer said that instead of the Trump campaign it was alleged that the count had “good faith errors”.
In Michigan, three lawsuits focused on counting the votes in Wayne County, home of Detroit. On Tuesday, White House press secretary Kayle McKenney flourished a packet of 234-page thick affidavits from Republican poll watchers as evidence of fraud in absentee ballot counts.
A Democratic official on the county board who certifies the election results, however, much of what is stated in the affidavits is untrue, and he thinks that many voters did not know what they were looking for .
Wayne Kinloch, vice chairman of the Wayne County Board of Canvasers, said it is possible that many of the elections were unfamiliar with ballot-handling procedures, and misunderstood the activities they saw.
“Republicans dragged people into rooms that were already suspected [integrity of the election] System, “Kinloch said.” They were looking for issues. Most of the things he claimed were clear misunderstandings, or generalities, of the procedures. “
A review of the affidavits shows that Republican poll watchers objected to the size of the Black Lives Matter gear worn by some pollsters and the “scare” of others. A Republican watchman at the absentee vote-counting center in Detroit was a suspect when 80 percent of military absentee ballots appeared for Biden. (Wayne County is heavily democratic.)
Matt Sanderson, a longtime Republican election lawyer who worked as an electoral law analyst for NBC News and MSNBC during the 2020 election, said the Trump campaign strategy in Michigan seemed more than quality was.
“I think it’s mainly for public consumption, because the volume has the effect of obscuring any of the more serious issues they identify, which you want to present in court during a speedy process.” The affidavits are re-filled with accounts of behavior that are lubricated. Look as suspicious, but may have been explained on the spot in an atmosphere of less stress. “
Sanderson said that of the many charges he reviewed, there are two that may be known in court. One, Zach Larson, a former assistant attorney for the state, alleged that several scanned ballots did not match the names in the main poll book.
“It does not indicate that he entered a challenge, however,” Sanderson said, “and it may be that he was misinterpreted as what was happening because he only appeared for a short time.”
Another poll watcher alleged that the dates were changed on “thousands” of absentee ballots to make it appear that they came on or before 3 November.
Sanderson said, “I would like to see what the Board of Elections / Dems says about this before determining if it has any legs. It may just be that the ballots themselves have received a timely date of receipt. Had indicated but data entry … had not yet been performed. “
In state court on Wednesday, Republican attorney David Culman addressed both charges, with Sanderson saying they were “very specific claims that these people saw specific acts happening,” and denied that they were “normalcy”.
“Mr. Larson was very clear that he had ballot papers assigned to people who did not vote. This, this is a serious charge, your honor, of fraud.”
David Fink, the Democratic attorney, responded, “We’ve seen it before. And we’re seeing it in many places, which is starting to feel like Groundhog Day at least in this courtroom in some way.”
Former state election director Chris Thomas, who was acting as a liaison with vote watchers during the counting of absentee ballots, told the court that what Larson had seen was actually “a correction of clerical errors , Not some form of fraud. ” Thomas said some barcodes would not be scanned on the return envelope and thus voters’ names were not already in a list.
He said the allegation of changing the dates on the ballot papers was false, and that the activists were only re-entering data that were not already correct.
Thomas said many voters who watched the counting of votes did not understand the election process.
Levitt said any lawsuit in any state is unlikely to change the outcome. “There are some ballots that can be a challenge to expire, and some ballots where something might happen. But no legal claim has been made that would invalidate or otherwise overturn 10,000, 20,000, 30,000 ballots. It’s just going to happen . “
John Lapinski, PhD, who is the director of elections for NBC News and oversees his decision desk, said that Biden’s leadership was abusive regardless of lawsuits or reconsiderations. “Even if all the stars aligned for President Trump and he were to win some of these lawsuits, the math doesn’t add up,” said Lapinski. The history of enumeration also offers little hope for him. “In 21 statewide calculations we have seen in the last 50 years,” Lapinski said, “we have never seen margins surpassed 2,500 votes. Biden leads by five figures in both Georgia and Wisconsin.
Levitt said that the nation already knows the outcome of the 2020 election: “I really don’t doubt that on January 20 at 12:01 pm, President-Elect Joe Biden will become President Joe Biden, and the government will take over until then.” You can hear the noise. “