Minutes after US media announced that Democratic candidate Joe Biden had won the heated race for the presidency of the United States, President Donald Trump rejected the result, indicating that he would prove his legal victory.
“The legal voices determine the president, not the media,” he added.
But experts note that it will be difficult for Trump to change the outcome unless he provides evidence of widespread fraud in the vote count that has flipped the results in several states.
For Irvine Richard Hasen, an expert in election law at the University of California, “Trump’s litigation strategy will not lead to any results, nor will it make a difference to the election result.”
Trump said his campaign team would go to the courts on Monday “to ensure that election laws are fully upheld and that the real winner takes office.”
And he indicated that he expects to recount the votes in the states, where Biden is leading with only a few thousand votes.
He spoke in particular of Pennsylvania, where Republicans point to fraud and say thousands of late-mail ballots have been billed illegally.
Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer, said Saturday in Philadelphia, the largest city in Pennsylvania, that “(media) networks do not have the right to decide the outcome of the elections. The courts are the ones that do it. The courts set aside elections when they are illegal.”
A reminder of Florida
Trump is right. As the elections do not actually end until each state officially confirms the number of votes in it, which will happen in the coming weeks.
But with all of the more than 150 million votes counted, Trump did not get enough votes from the electorate that officially chooses the president, according to a consensus in the US media on Saturday.
Candidates have already taken refuge in the courts. In the year 2000, when the election battle between Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore was hinging on the outcome in Florida – where Bush was leading by just over 500 votes – the matter went to the Supreme Court for a recount in the state.
And the court refused a recount, which led to the announcement of Bush’s victory.
But in Trump’s case, he would not only have to surpass a difference of about 40,000 votes in Pennsylvania, but he would also retreat by thousands of votes in Nevada, Georgia, Arizona and Wisconsin.
It is highly unlikely that the Supreme Court would move to annul the results of elections with this difference in several states.
A recount is expected in both Wisconsin and Georgia, and possibly other states.
But a recount rarely flips an election. And in 2016, the Wisconsin recount added 131 votes for Trump, who was already ahead of his then Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
“In recent US elections, the recount has almost never changed results by more than a few hundred votes,” said Ohio State University electoral law expert Stephen Hefner.
The Trump team had hoped Pennsylvania would overturn its decision months ago to accept ballots that arrive in the mail until three days after Election Day.
Republicans appealed the decision to the Supreme Court in October, but its judges were divided on the matter (four agreed, four rejected) and the decision remained the same. But the court indicated that it may reconsider the matter after the elections.
Now that it has the full number of nine judges it needs after Trump appointed Conservative Amy Connie Barrett, Republicans are seeking a new court session to hear the case.
But Pennsylvania officials point out that the number of ballots that the court can decide not to count does not exceed a few thousand, which is much less than the number that Trump needs to win over Biden.
“It is difficult to see how the ballot papers in question could be related to the election result,” said Penn State State affairs official Cathy Bukfar in a pleading sent to court on Saturday.
Trump insists there is fraud. To overtake Biden, this would have to be proven in several states and the tens of thousands of votes his opponent had collected would have to be canceled.
So far, the Trump team has not produced any evidence.
Giuliani said Saturday that the city of Philadelphia, which is usually very Democratic, has a “sad history of rigging elections,” noting that some of the ballot papers that arrived have the names of the dead.
“This is certainly sufficient evidence to cancel the counting of a certain number of votes. This will affect the elections.”
But according to Hefner, the Republican accusations are “vague.”
“You have to present facts to support your claims,” he said, adding that even with evidence, Republicans would have to prove that fraud was enough to turn the tide.
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