As Trump and his allies seek to escalate the electoral process, sow confusion, and perpetuate unfounded doubts about the count, President Donald Trump’s scattershot attempt to manipulate the success of President-elect Joe Biden is turning to obscure election boards. .
The battle is centered on the battlefield where Biden closed the victory.
In Michigan, two Republican election officials in the state’s largest county refused to confirm the results despite evidence of fraud, then backed down and voted to verify, and then flipped again Wednesday and said they were “against verification.” Some Republicans called the GOP statewide canvassers the same way. In Arizona, officials are cracking down to sign the right to vote in a rural county.
These measures do not reflect a coordinated effort in the war-torn states for Biden, local election officials said. Instead, the legal challenges filed by Trump and his allies were sidelined by state and federal courts, which provoked Trump’s incendiary rhetoric about baseless fraud, and they were motivated by a broader Republican acceptance against the country’s electoral system.
However, what happened Tuesday and Wednesday in Wayne County, Michigan, is a reminder of the disruptions that still occur as the country works through the process of verifying the results of the November 3 election.
Joshua Douglas, a law professor at the University of Kentucky, said there was no progress to the Trump team’s widespread effort to delay or undermine certification.
“As we know it will be the end of democracy,” Douglas said. “It’s not something that happens.”
A common yet important step is for local election officials to increase votes, review policies, check that votes are counted correctly and verify results after investigating differences. Typically, this verification is done by the local election board and then, the results are verified at the state level.
In addition to Trump’s refusal to accept Biden, this worldly process is taking on new significance as false arguments for victory continue to spread.
Among the key battlefield states, counties in Michigan, Nevada and Wisconsin have made it through the initial phase of verifying results. With the exception of Wayne County, the process is fairly smooth. Arizona, Pennsylvania and Georgia still have not completed their local certifications.
Then all eyes turn to statewide certification.
In Wayne County, two Republican canvassers first confirmed the vote, received praise from Trump and reversed the course after widespread condemnation. A source familiar with the matter said Trump conveners reached out to Monica Palmer and William Hartman on Tuesday evening after the revised vote to thank them for their support. Then, on Wednesday, Palmer and Hartman signed affidavits believing the county vote should not be “confirmed.”
Time is short for Trump. Across the country, recounts and court challenges must be wrapped up and election results confirmed by December 8. That is the constitutional deadline before the Electoral College meeting next week.
Matt Morgan, the attorney general for the Trump campaign, said last week that the campaign was trying to stop verification in battlefield states until it gets a better handle on voting lands and has the right to automatic recounts. Currently, Trump is requesting a recount in Wisconsin in two counties, and Biden is doing a Georgia hand audit with a narrow margin of 0.3 percentage points, but there is no mandatory recount law in the state. If the margin is less than 0.5 percentage points the law provides that option to the trailing candidate.
By delaying some verification in the Republican presidential orbit, GOP-controlled state legislatures will have the opportunity to elect different voters, manipulating Biden’s victory or sending him to the House, where Trump is sure to win.
But many advisers to the president consider the fever a nightmare. The Trump team has also been unable to carry out basic legal activities since the election, disassembling state legislators with the wide-ranging political and legal tools needed to try to undermine the will of their state voters.
Trump friends in Michigan and Nevada have filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the certification. Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, argued Tuesday to stop vote verification in Pennsylvania, where he was in court for the first time in decades. On the same day, the Arizona Republican Party asked a judge to certify Maricopa County, the state’s most populous state, from verifying until the court issues a party lawsuit seeking to recalculate the ballot sample.
The party is pressuring county officials across the state to delay verification, even though there is no evidence to support legitimate questions about the number of votes showing Biden has won Arizona.
“The party must ensure that not only party county supervisors, but everyone responsible for certifying elections, answers all questions so that voters have confidence in the election results,” said Arizona spokesman Jack Henry.
While most counties in Arizona are moving forward with certification, officials in Mohawk County have decided to delay until Nov. 23, citing uncertainty about the pace of election challenges across the country.
“There are lawsuits everywhere about everything, and this is one reason I’m not in a big hurry to cancel the election,” Mohd County Supervisor Ron Gould said Monday.
Authorities in 159 counties in Georgia are expected to confirm their results by last Friday. A few have not yet confirmed that the state is operating by a margin of 5 million votes.
Gabriel Sterling, a senior official in the Georgia Foreign Office, said “they are drowning, and they are trying to go all out.” “Some of these are small, low-resource counties, and only a very large number can do it.”
In addition, some counties will have to re-verify their results after previously counting votes are found during the audit.
Once the counties have been verified, the focus will be on state-level officials charged with signing elections. It varies by state. For example, a bipartisan panel in Michigan will confirm the election, but in Georgia it is the responsibility of the elected Secretary of State, who has already faced calls from fellow Republicans to resign.
In Nevada, the role of Secretary of State Barbara Segavsky in the certification process was largely cabinet, but a spokeswoman said Wednesday that she received an email “asking her not to verify the results of the fraudulent election.” There did not seem to be much water.
In Luzern County, Pennsylvania, a member of the Republican board, Joyce Dombrowski-Gebard, said some voters should confirm the county election without an audit of at least 10 percent of the vote to make sure they don’t vote twice.
Trump won the county, which has an electoral board of three Democrats and two Republicans. Democrat Peter Ollet, who is on the board, said there was no doubt the rest of the board would sign the affidavit on Monday.
There are also plans to confirm the results Monday in Philadelphia.
There may be some further delays if election officials look at the workload faced this year during the epidemic, according to Suzanne Almeida with Common Cause Pennsylvania, a good government group that helps voter education and oversees election work in the state.
“Verification delays do not necessarily mean that there are schnauzers; sometimes it takes longer to go through all the mechanics to get certification,” Almeida said.
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