The Trump administration lodges several lawsuits alleging voter fraud, insufficient ballot count operations in key states
ALTHOUGH mainstream media across the world reported President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election on Saturday, Nov. 7, the Trump campaign has lodged several legal suits alleging voter irregularities, suggesting a premature call of the results.
It’s important to note that although media outlets have announced Biden as the winner, the results are still not official as of press time — and this is a standard for any election.
It usually takes days and sometimes weeks before any election is officially complete and the votes are certified by individual states’ secretaries of state (the position that acts as chief election officer in each state).
Even outside of the pandemic, the voting system as we know it is slow, riddled with bureaucratic holes and, in some cases, comprise active voter suppression efforts that make it almost impossible to have a smooth and streamlined election process.
Los Angeles County, for example, still has more than 600,000 ballots to count, according to the county registrar. In Arizona, where the race is still at razor-thin margins, 150,000 votes that haven’t been counted yet. (Biden was leading by a slim 29,861 votes as of Friday, Nov. 6.)
As long as ballots were postmarked on or before Nov. 3, they can still be counted. Some ballots are still arriving by mail, and the ballot delivery deadline was extended to 17 days.
This election took all those presuppositions and reared the arcane American electoral process on its ugly head. Months before Election Day, officials prepared for a delayed call of the election by encouraging people to vote early and make a robust plan to get ballots in with little to no hiccups.
And after a days-long limbo period between Election Day and Saturday, Biden was announced as the winner despite the fact that it was a projection and not an official call.
This hasn’t stopped Biden supporters — including Republicans who distanced themselves from the Trump campaign — from celebrating when news reports came out that Biden won Pennsylvania, a key battleground state.
As such, however, this sparked outrage among Trump supporters across the nation who, along with the president’s re-election campaign, are calling for legal intervention into the election results, arguing that the call on Saturday was too early and there’s still good reason to hold off on announcing a winner.
Marc Ang, an LA-based financial planner who co-organized the Filipino Americans for Trump caravan rally in October, told the Asian Journal on Monday, Nov. 9 that he was “honestly not surprised” about the media reports calling Biden’s win.
Ang referenced the voting irregularities as well as more illegitimate and nefarious practices that have been reported in at least five states against which the Trump campaign has lodged lawsuits.
As of Monday, the Trump campaign has filed lawsuits in Pennsylvania, Nevada, Michigan, Georgia and Arizona. All states currently have Biden in the lead by slim margins, and Georgia has committed to recounting its votes, according to Republican Doug Collins who represents the state in the House and was appointed by the Trump campaign to oversee the recount.
Similarly, Lisa Noeth, a Filipina American conservative commentator and co-director of the Nevada Young Republicans, told the Asian Journal that she was not allowed to oversee the counting in Clark County, Nevada and “was told it was a waste of time by a staff member.”
“This tarnishes the U.S. Constitution’s rule of the land that the electors determine the winner after all the legal votes are counted,” Noeth said about the reported hastiness of the election call before all the votes were certified and found legal.
Noeth, who attended the Stop the Steal rally in Las Vegas on Nov. 4, said that she has “first-hand account” with voters who said that they had “issues with their ballots being invalidated.”
“We have to question the narrative [of] what there is to hide in places where the vote is being counted and observers were barred in battleground states, including Nevada, Pennsylvania and Michigan,” Noeth added.
Ang also helped with the rally in Beverly Hills, California over the weekend and worked with other groups across the country to encourage Trump supporters to continue fighting against the “premature” declaration of Biden’s victory.
The legal challenges posed by the Trump campaign, however, are all over the place and comprise different things, making it difficult to see how they all come together in the general claim of “voter fraud.”
In Nevada, the Trump campaign claims that at least 10,000 people voted in the state after moving to another state. The Trump campaign also alleged that in Wayne County, Michigan (home to Detroit) poll workers were seen swaying voters to vote a certain way and that GOP election observers were blocked from observing the vote count. (The only proof of the Michigan claims come in the form of affidavits from individuals.)
Misleading videos have also percolated through social media, including a video of ballot counters in Delaware County, Pennsylvania transcribing damaged ballots that couldn’t be read by machines. (The Delaware County Bureau of Elections confirmed this, noting that “some residents have altered the video are making false accusations.”)
Nevertheless, claims against these states by the Trump campaign have fueled nationwide protests among Trump supporters echoing the alleged claims of voter fraud.
“Preliminary results get put out there and [the] news media is very quick to jump on something exciting to report. They’re seeing the same numbers I’m seeing, but I’m not as quick to jump on a call especially when it goes against fundamentals,” Ang added, referencing the reports of “software glitches and fraudulent ballots.”
Ang’s claim of software glitches comes from a popular notion that technological problems with the software that undermined the actual vote counts in states like Michigan and Georgia.
But according to the Michigan Department of State, county clerks and election security experts, the reported issues in the unofficial vote counts in Michigan’s Antrim and Oakland counties were not software glitches, but human error, adding these were “isolated cases.”
In Georgia, the software problems only related to how poll workers checked in voters from two counties and submission of results in another county.
The Trump campaign has also said that it has evidence of ballot mishandling and discarded votes in Maricopa County, Arizona, alleging that Trump voters may have had their ballots rejected due to manual override by poll workers.
Despite all the mounting suits and allegations of voter fraud being lodged by the Trump campaign, none of these claims have been verified. Like the Delaware County officials, election bureaus across the country continue fighting unverified claims proffered by the Trump campaign and viral attempts to locate fraud among Trump supporters.
Experts on constitutional law don’t see the lawsuits going much further since much of the tangible proof of the alleged “voting irregularities” came in the form of affidavits, personal anecdotes among Trump supporters and debunked altered videos on social media.
“That requires some kind of evidence,” Morgan Marietta, professor of constitutional politics at the University of Massachusetts Lowell told NBC. “There’s an incentive to do the recounts and the audits to establish there wasn’t fraud, but right now, there’s no evidence we’ve seen of widespread fraud. Certainly not enough to change the outcome.”
That being said, however, Trump supporters are mobilized and believe that legal action could provide a path to victory for the president in a way that could flip the media projections.
“This is far from impossible,” Ang asserted.
In response to Trump’s refusal to concede the election, both Ang and Noeth agreed that the president shouldn’t concede until the claims of alleged fraud are found to be baseless.
“This is a unique opportunity to audit and reform our elections for the better. Florida, under the scrutiny of 2000, has become a leader now in honest elections. I hope this for the other states in question. Let the process play out and if the fraud doesn’t change the outcome, he should concede,” Ang said.
Noeth mirrored Ang’s position, saying, “I believe we should stand by President Trump in not conceding until all the legal votes are counted and our court system investigates the evidence of voter fraud. We need to protect the legitimacy of our electoral process through the legal system in place according to the U.S. Constitution.
Filipinos are the second-largest Asian American group to support Trump, just behind Vietnamese Americans, according to the 2020 Asian American Voter Survey released two months before the general election. With this, both Ang and Noeth believe that the president and the Republican Party have the greater Filipino American community’s interests in mind.
And, even if the courts decide that the election was legitimate and Biden was legally elected as the 46th President of the United States, folks like Ang and Noeth are optimistic that this isn’t the end of the Trump legacy.
“If [Trump] loses the presidency, the movement will get even more energized and will bring us to major victories in 2022 and 2024, where Trump may run and win again,” Ang said, referencing recent reports that Trump is considering another White House run in 2024.
“Let’s let the court system decide the winner of the 2020 elections,” Noeth said, adding that regardless of the outcome, “For the next four years, Republicans, such as myself, should continue to engage the Asian American community and represent Fil-Ams as future candidates in elected office.