What's happening with lawsuits, postal votes and recounts in the US election?


What’s happening with lawsuits, postal votes and recounts in the US election?

Donald Trump has launched legal challenges in five key US states, alleging that election officials are counting fraudulent votes despite very little evidence.

The federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said on Thursday, 12, that the general election was the most secure in US history.

However, though Joe Biden has been announced the winner of the election, the process could be protracted for weeks, and the damage to public confidence in the democratic process could last much longer because of Mr Trumps lawsuits.

On Monday, 9 November, the US Attorney-General instructed prosecutors to investigate claims of voter fraud – though there is little evidence of it. This led to the resignation of justice department official Richard Pilger on the same day.

Several far-right groups rallied the capital this Saturday, November 14th, in a public showcase of their support for Mr Trump, and to express their anger at the claims of voting fraud in the election. Mr Trump showed his appreciation in the run up to the protest on Twitter, writing: “Heartwarming to see all of the tremendous support out there, especially the organic Rallies that are springing up all over the country, including a big one on Saturday in D.C. I may even try to stop by and say hello.”

Mr Trump did not go along in person, but retweeted footage from the protests with the captions, “Amazing!” and “Spirit like never before!”

Smaller groups of anti-Trump protesters also gathered in Washington in support of Joe Biden. Some of the protesters clashed with Trump supporters and law enforcement, and CNN reported that at least 20 people were arrested and two officers with the DC Metropolitan Police were injured.

The claims of fraud still continue and Mr Trump still insists he is not conceding the US election.

 Here is what’s happening in each state. 

2020 US election results map in full

Which states are facing voting challenges?

Michigan

The Trump campaign filed a fresh lawsuit in Michigan on Wednesday, 11 November, this time asking a  federal court to block the state from certifying the election  – which Joe Biden won by around 145,000 votes.

It is alleging there were irregularities in the way in which votes were tabulated and also that Republican observers were improperly harassed.

Allegations include that ineligible ballots were counted including votes which were deposited in dropboxes after the deadline.

The campaign filed a similar claim in a Michigan state court, which was dismissed by the judge, Timothy Kenny, who said he found no evidence to support the assertions.

The state was key to Donald Trump’s victory in 2016, when he flipped it from the Democrats by less than 11,000 votes, but this year Joe Biden has won its 16 electoral votes with 99 per cent of the votes counted. 

Georgia

A vote audit in Georgia has confirmed Mr Biden as the winner of the state.

Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s Secretary of State, said on Thursday that a hand audit of ballots was complete and had confirmed Mr Biden’s victory. 

Mr Trump has been claiming, with no evidence, that the Democrats are attempting to commit widespread electoral fraud and have “rigged” the vote against him.

An audit was launched in Georgia after unofficial results showed Mr Biden leading Mr Trump by about 14,000 votes. Election officials manually recounted votes, finding that Mr Biden beat the president by 12,284 votes.

After the hand recount, the losing party can request another, which would be done by machine in the state which has 16 votes in the Electoral College. 

Mr Raffensperger has dismissed claims of election fraud, and cast doubts on the likelihood of the recount swinging the result in Mr Trump’s favour. 

He acknowledged there may have been some illegal voting, but said “My office is investigating all of it. Does it rise to the numbers or margin necessary to change the outcome to where President Trump is given Georgia’s electoral votes? That is unlikely.”

A formal recount would take place in late November. However, despite the recount, it now looks impossible for Mr Biden’s lead to be overturned, as the Democrats won the state by an overwhelming majority. 

Georgia was a vital state for the president, who would have needed to win more of the remaining states than Mr Biden in order to grab the presidency. 

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