Donald Trump filed lawsuits in several states challenging the election result and claimed voter fraud, but presented no evidence of widespread fraud.
The Trump campaign had challenged the validity of several thousand votes in Philadelphia through five cases in the state’s court of common pleas, alleging that the mail ballots were unlawful because the voters had failed to write certain information on the envelopes, such as the date or their name and address. All five of the cases were rejected on Nov. 13. The judge noted that “the pre-printed ballot already contains the elector’s name and address on the pre-printed exterior envelope” and said there was no requirement for voters to write the date. The Trump campaign has appealed.
After Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court extended the ballot receipt deadline to Nov. 6, state Republicans twice appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. The first time they were unsuccessful, and the second time the court declined to expedite the decision before the election, but left open the possibility of hearing it afterwards. On Nov. 6, Supreme Court Justice Alito, in response to a motion from Pennsylvania Republicans, ordered state election officials to segregate any ballots that arrived after election day. State officials had already ordered counties to segregate any ballots that arrived after Election Day, likely anticipating a future challenge. The litigation is ongoing. Some legal experts are skeptical the Supreme Court will take the case, while others say that even if the Justices do, their ruling is unlikely to change the outcome of the Presidential election. Pennsylvania election officials have said there are fewer than 10,000 ballots in this category, and Trump currently trails Biden by over 45,000 votes.
The campaign filed a 105 page federal lawsuit on Nov. 9 alleging state officials created a “two tiered” system to ensure Biden would win the state by allowing vote-by mail – which they claim was a violation of the constitution’s equal protection clause – and that the results should consequently not be certified. The seven counties named as defendants in the lawsuit – Allegheny, Centre, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Northampton and Philadelphia – all voted for Biden. Litigation is still ongoing, and the Democratic National Committee has filed a motion to intervene. Legal experts have said it is unlikely the case will succeed.
Trump has won a couple of lawsuits, but none with the ability to overturn the election result. The Trump campaign filed a lawsuit in state court on Nov. 5 alleging that Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar illegally extended a deadline for mail-in voters to supply any missing ID requirements from Nov. 9 to Nov. 12. A judge ordered the Pennsylvania State Department to further segregate any mail-in ballots with missing voter ID information provided after Nov. 9. On Nov. 12, an appellate judge ruled that Boockvar lacked the authority to issue guidance to change the deadline, and enjoined the state's boards of elections from counting any ballots that have been segregated.
"You can't go to court just because you don't like the vote totals," Ohio State election law professor Ned Foley said on MSNBC over the weekend. "You have to have a legal claim, and you have to have evidence to back it up. And that's just not there." Meanwhile, Richard Hasen, an election law expert at the University of California, told NDTV that Trump should not hold out too much hope. "Trump's litigation strategy is going nowhere. It is not going to make a difference to the election outcome," he added.
South Texas College of Law Election law expert Josh Blackman told, ABC13, "At this point in the election, it's beyond what's called the margin of litigation. In other words, even if President Trump's lawsuits are successful, they still won't make up enough votes to push him over the top. So the litigation, I think, is mostly for show."