Judge dismisses Trump campaign lawsuit to stop Georgia count
Election personnel handle ballots as vote counting in the general election continues at State Farm Arena, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in Atlanta. | Brynn Anderson / AP

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Firing off its third legal salvo in a bid to steal the election, the Trump campaign filed another lawsuit Thursday attempting to stop the counting of votes, this time in Georgia, where his margin is sharply decreasing as absentee and mail-in ballots are tallied.

Trump Deputy Campaign Manager Justin Clark alleged in a statement that a Republican poll watcher in the state “witnessed 53 late absentee ballots illegally added to a stack of on-time absentee ballots in Chatham County.”

The lawsuit, filed in Chatman County, essentially asks a state judge to ensure state laws are being followed on absentee ballots. Trump campaign officials have also signaled that they are considering filing several similar suits in a dozen other counties around the state asserting similar claims about absentee ballots.

Almost as fast as this new suit was filed, however, Chatham County Superior Court Judge James Bass dismissed it. Bass did not provide an explanation for his decision. At an almost one-hour hearing, county elections officials testified that all 53 ballots had been received on time; Bass appeared convinced.

This latest lawsuit, like those before it, is part of a broader and calculated attempt by the Trump campaign and GOP to undermine the integrity of the election and voting process by challenging mail-in ballots, which heavily favor Democratic candidates, and halting the counting process in states where the president is currently ahead.

Explaining why the suit was filed, Clark said, “President Trump and his team are fighting for the good of the nation to uphold the rule of law, and Georgia’s law is very clear: to legally count, mail ballots must be received by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day.”

Independently, David Shafer, the chairman of the Georgia state GOP, tweeted, “I have authorized lawyers for the Georgia Republican Party to file an emergency petition against the Chatham County Board of Elections to enforce election laws and prevent the unlawful counting of absentee ballots received after the election.”

A razor-thin margin separates Trump and Biden in the state. With an estimated 99% of votes counted, Trump holds 49.6% (2,432,552 votes) while Biden is on his heels with 49.2% (2,413,966 votes).

Trump has repeatedly claimed that mail-in ballots that arrive after Election Day should not be counted. The law in most states says otherwise. Several allow late-arriving ballots to count if they are postmarked by Election Day. But Trump seems bound to continue in his strategy of using the courts to try to swing the outcome of the race as it narrows in Biden’s favor.

As it stands, there is no legitimate legal mechanism in place for the U.S. Supreme Court to “get all the voting to stop” as Trump has argued.

Politically speaking, the Trump campaign, and Trump, are lashing out in desperation, and this flurry of lawsuits is the tactic of a losing campaign.

“What makes these charades especially pathetic is that while Trump is demanding recounts in places he has already lost, he’s simultaneously engaged in fruitless attempts to halt the counting of votes in other states in which he’s on the road to defeat,” said Biden campaign spokesperson Andrew Bates, in a statement.

The only rule of law that matters now is this: Count Every Vote.

And election officials will continue to do so, despite a lawless incumbent’s legal theatrics.


CONTRIBUTOR

Al Neal
Al Neal

Al Neal is the associate editor for labor and politics. He is also the chief photographer for People's World.

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