President Donald Trump and his allies are taking increasingly frantic steps to subvert the results of the 2020 election, including summoning state legislators to the White House as part of a longshot bid to overturn Joe Biden’s victory.
Among other last-ditch tactics: personally calling local election officials who are trying to rescind their certification votes in Michigan, suggesting in a legal challenge that Pennsylvania set aside the popular vote there and pressuring county officials in Arizona to delay certifying vote tallies.
Election law experts see it as the last, dying gasps of the Trump campaign and say Joe Biden is certain to walk into the Oval Office come January. But there is great concern that Trump’s effort is doing real damage to public faith in the integrity of U.S. elections.
“We depend on democratic norms, including that the losers graciously accept defeat,” he said. “That seems to be breaking down.”
Trump’s own election security agency has declared the 2020 presidential election to have been the most secure in history. Days after that statement was issued, Trump fired the agency’s leader.
The increasingly desperate and erratic moves have no reasonable chance of changing the outcome of the 2020 election, where Biden has now received more votes than any other presidential candidate in history and has clinched the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win.
But the president’s constant barrage of baseless claims, his work to personally sway local officials who certify votes and his allies’ refusal to admit he lost is likely to have a lasting negative impact on the country. Legions of his supporters don’t believe he lost.
But a massive influx of mail-in ballots because of the coronavirus pandemic leaned largely to Biden, who encouraged his supporters to vote by mail, and those votes were the last to be counted. So it appeared Trump had an edge when he really didn’t.
In fact, Biden crushed Trump in Wayne County, a Democratic stronghold that includes Detroit, by a more than 2-1 margin on his way to winning Michigan by 154,000 votes, according to unofficial results.
The Associated Press called Biden the winner of Georgia and its 16 electoral votes on Thursday night.
A top Georgia election official said earlier Thursday that a hand tally of ballots cast in the presidential race had been completed, and that the results affirmed Biden’s narrow lead over Trump. The secretary of state’s office planned to release results of the audit later Thursday.
During the hand tally, several counties found previously uncounted ballots that the secretary of state’s office has said would reduce Biden’s lead to just under 13,000 votes, with roughly 5 million total votes cast. Georgia law allows a candidate to request a recount within two business days of certification if the margin is less than 0.5 percentage points. That recount would be done using machines.