Since the official election day of the U.S. presidential election, incumbent President Trump and his campaign have been trying to overturn the election results of President-elect Biden and have launched legal challenges in many places.
So far, Trump and his campaign have filed at least 50 lawsuits, more than 30 of which have been rejected or dismissed by the court, and more than a dozen are under way, according to the Associated Press statistics.
However, this desire to overthrow the election results through litigation may be about to be “disillusioned”. Many Trump campaign officials believe that stopping the litigation process may be just a “time matter,” according to CNN citing people familiar with the matter.
Trump’s desire to overthrow the election results is about to be dashed?
Under federal law, the Electoral College is required to hold an official vote on the first Monday after the second Wednesday of December, which is December 14. Six days before the official voting in the electoral college, the states need to resolve all disputes related to the results of the presidential election, certify their own election results and distribute electoral votes. That is, December 8 this year, this is the “Safe Harbor” clause under the U.S. Election Counting Act of 1887. ) Deadline.
According to the U.S. media Buzz Feed News, setting a deadline for the “safe harbor” clause not only protects the results of the state-certified election, but also avoids the election results from legal disputes again due to congressional intervention.
That said, if states resolve their vote count differences and determine the vote results within the deadline of the Safe Harbor Clause, Congress will accept the state’s election results and may not challenge the state’s electoral college. If the deadline is exceeded and the states still disagree, if there is a problem with the Electoral College, it will be the final decision of Congress.
Trump campaign officials also seem to acknowledge that the December 8 deadline is crucial for them to launch legal challenges. On November 22 local time, Trump’s lawyer urged the federal appeals court to speed up the case in a lawsuit in Pennsylvania, and within five days, the court issued a new ruling.
According to CNN, on December 2nd local time, Trump posted a pre-recorded video on social media Facebook. In the video, Trump angrily denounced the fraud in the election and said that they would continue to file lawsuits. However, in the past few days, the Trump campaign has held fewer meetings on the lawsuit.
While the Trump campaign still has the opportunity to file a lawsuit after December 8 or even December 14, experts familiar with U.S. electoral law believe that this is very unlikely to happen.
Rebecca Green, co-director of the election law program at William & Mary Law School in the United States, said that “After the deadline for the ‘safe harbor’ clause, the door to legal challenges for presidential candidates will be quickly closed, and it will be difficult for them to persuade judges to ignore the deadline of federal laws. It seems to me that judges are willing to continue their efforts beyond the deadline only if the presidential candidate of one party digs up incredible and very crazy evidence.
Justin Levitt of Loyola Law School in California also said, “If you want a judge to make a ruling that the election results are invalid, you need to consider a specific question, that is, whether there is a problem with the ballot and whether it will affect the local election results. However, in the many lawsuits filed by Trump and his campaign, there has hardly reached this “threshold”.
What is the outcome of the legal challenge launched by Trump?
According to the BBC, most of all the legal challenges launched by the Trump campaign are in Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada, Georgia and Arizona. However, the above five states have confirmed that Biden has won more votes, and a series of lawsuits launched by Trump on the ground have not had a significant impact on the election results.
On December 7th local time, Detroit District Court Judge Linda Parker rejected the Michigan Republicans’ request to revoke the local election results. After Michigan certified Biden to get more votes, local Republicans believed that malfeasance and voting fraud were widespread among the staff in charge of the election, and therefore asked the court to order that the state’s election results not be certified. Detroit District Court Judge Parker said the lawsuit was aimed at shaking confidence in the government and the American democracy, and the court would not allow such behavior, so he rejected the state’s Republican request.
On December 5th local time, the U.S. Federal Court of Appeal also rejected the appeal of conservative lawyer Lynn Wood in Georgia, which became another “lost” lawsuit for Trump and his campaign. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit said in a statement that it upheld the district judge’s previous ruling that Lynn Wood was not legally qualified to file a lawsuit over Georgia’s election results.
The Guardian notes that Trump has lost a lot for a “fatuated with victory”. Of the at least 50 lawsuits Trump and his campaign have launched, they have only won “small victories”.
On November 12th local time, the Pennsylvania federal court ruled that some “expired” mail ballots should not be included in the statistics, and at the same time, the ballot papers of voters who failed to supplement their identity certificates in time before November 9 could not be counted. Pennsylvania Attorney General Shapiro said that “the ruling affects very few votes”.
What else will Trump do to “turn the tables” for the election?
Since the lawsuits of Trump and his campaign have not had a great impact, Trump began to consider putting pressure on Republicans in various states.
Trump has called Republican Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Cutler twice in the past week to urge him to intervene and take some action to “amend” state laws. Under Pennsylvania law, law prohibits lawmakers from interfering with and replacing electors elected by voters.
The calls were subsequently confirmed by Cutler’s office, and Cutler’s spokesman Michael Straub said, “President Trump claimed he had heard some questions about the law and asked us what we could do to solve these problems?” Straub also relayed that Cutler told Trump on the phone that the legislature had no power to overturn the elector’s list determined by voters.
The Washington Post noted that this was the third time Trump attempted to directly overturn the election results. Trump had previously approached Republicans in Michigan and personally called Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to ask him to immediately request a special session of the state legislature and appoint some pro-Trump voters to help him get more electoral votes on December 14.
Trump’s continuous pressure on Republicans has led to differences within the Republican Party. Georgia Lt. Gov. Jeff Duncan said in an interview with CNN that there is still no evidence of voting fraud in the state, and the investigation is still ongoing. “but I will not bet going to my job responsibilities because the party I support is not currently leading.” Duncan also stressed that “the vast amount of information about election fraud sent by Trump and his allies is undermining the influence of the Republican Party in the U.S. elections”.
Analysts pointed out that state-level government officials usually try to defend local election results because they are responsible for the election results. For state governors and their colleagues, reaffirming the integrity of elections can maintain local law and order. Republicans in Congress, on the other hand, are usually “silent” about Trump’s attempt to overthrow the election results.