Donald Trump on Monday night tweeted a series of video clips providing a litany of accusations of electoral fraud, which were immediately flagged by Twitter as disinformation.
The president began with a clip from Newsmax, owned by his friend Chris Ruddy.
The host interviewed Liz Harrington, RNC National Spokesman, who said: ‘what is going on right now is a total travesty.’
She said it was ‘not media organizations’ who decide the election – an argument taken up with gusto by Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer.
They are right – but it is not the media who decide the election; they simply work out who they can confidently predict as the winner.
‘There are no official results on Election Night — there never have been,’ said Edward B. Foley, an Ohio State University constitutional law professor who specializes in elections.
Liz Harrington’s interview with Newsmax was retweeted by the president
Trump was on his golf course when Saturday’s results came, and again Sunday (pictured)
He told the Austin-American Statesman: ‘Election Night tallies are always just preliminary, pending certification of the canvass of returns under state law, which takes time. Every state has a law on this point.’
In the United States an exceptionally complicated federal system has evolved.
After Election Day, states count and certify the results of the popular vote. When completed, each governor is required by law to prepare ‘as soon as practicable’ documents known as ‘Certificates of Ascertainment’ of the vote. The certificate, carrying the seal of each state, is sent to the archivist of the United States. This must be done by December 8.
On December 14 the members of the Electoral College – Electors – vote by paper ballot in their respective states and the District of Columbia, according to how the popular vote in their state went.
But people are impatient, and want to know the results before December 14.
That’s where the media organizations come in.
They hire analysts and statisticians to work out whether they can say with confidence that a candidate will win a state. Some states remain too close to call – Georgia has still not been decided. Yet others were called very quickly, such as New York, which is still counting votes but is overwhelmingly Democrat.
Harrington said she had seen ‘a report in Nevada about dead voters’.
She seemed to be referencing a lawsuit filed on November 5 against Nevada’s secretary of state and the Clark County registrar of voters, which alleges that ‘irregularities have plagued the election in Clark County.’
Clark County is Nevada’s most populous county, is home to Las Vegas and has the state’s highest number of registered Democrats.
The lawsuit claims that there were ‘over 3,000 instances of ineligible individuals casting ballots,’ and that ballots were cast on behalf of deceased voters.
Trump on Thursday addressed the nation and vowed to fight through the courts
Politifact analyzed the document and found it does not include evidence to back those claims.
A local news team, I News, did find two ballots returned from people who had recently died. One was returned by a relative, who did not cast her own ballot. A second was returned by an unknown person.
But officials said it looked highly unlikely that 3,000 ineligible ballots had been cast.
AFTER THE ELECTION: THE DATES YOU NEED TO KNOW
NOVEMBER 23: All swing states election results are certified by this date
DECEMBER 8: ‘Safe harbor’ deadline which means the statutory deadline for resolving disputed results. If the states have followed correct procedures, whatever the result is on Dec. 8 stands, even if one side still disputes it
DECEMBER 14: Electoral college electors are chosen and sworn in
JANUARY 5: Georgia run-off elections for two Senate seats, determining who controls the Senate
JANUARY 6: Congress certifies the Electoral College votes
JANUARY 20: At midday the new president is sworn in and assumes all of the powers of commander-in-chief – including the ability to direct the Secret Service and U.S. Marshals to remove unwanted White House guests
Harrington said she had heard of ‘vans marked Biden Harris with full truckloads of ballots’.
It was unclear what she was referring to.
She said that ‘what happened in Pennsylvania is totally unconstitutional’.
In Pennsylvania, due to the pandemic, the state Democratic Party and a liberal group, the Pennsylvania Alliance for Retired Americans, sought an extension of the Election Day deadline to count mailed ballots.
On September 17 the state Supreme Court agreed, and said ballots must be postmarked by the time polls close and be received by county election boards at 5pm on Nov. 6 – three days after the election.
On October 19 the nation’s Supreme Court upheld the decision from the state Supreme Court.
It meant that, come Election Day, 22 states — 10 of which backed Trump in the 2016 election — has a post-Election Day deadline.
She said: ‘The governor does not have the right to unilaterally decide which ballots can come in after an Election Day’.
A spokesman for Tom Wolfe, the governor of Pennsylvania, said he did.
Lyndsay Kensinger said provisions of the Emergency Management Services Code give Pennsylvania governors the authority to protect the opportunity to vote by extending deadlines during a disaster emergency, such as a pandemic.
Harrington concluded that poll watchers in Philadelphia had been ‘blocked’ so that Democrats ‘could stuff the ballot box’.
Philadelphia has been live-streaming the count online, and poll watchers from both parties are present to witness proceedings.
Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania’s attorney general, said there was a complaint that the poll workers were too far away.
He told 60 Minutes that they resolved the matter, moving the watchers from 10 feet away to a closer six feet away.
‘Joe Biden did not win this election. President Trump did,’ she said, without evidence.
Biden is confident of his margins in the Electoral College votes, and unquestionably won the popular vote.
As of Monday night he had 4,898,765 more votes than Trump.
A second video tweeted by Trump was also from Newsmax, this one featuring Jody Hice, a Republican congressman for Georgia’s 10th district.
Jody Hice, a congressman for Georgia, was also on Newsmax
Georgia is yet to be called for either candidate, and an automatic recount will be carried out given that the margin is under 0.5 per cent.
He said there were ‘issues’ in Fulton County – which is correct.
On Friday the officials there said there had been slight problems.
On Monday Gabriel Sterling, an electoral official in the secretary of state’s office, explained that one problem was that they were missing around 500 ballots when their count was reported.
Sterling said they discovered 126 provisional ballots that had been scanned as absentee ballots. So the absentee ballot count was 126 higher than it should have been.
Then there were 358 provisional ballots that had been damaged by the knife in the automatic opening machine.
They had to replicated, with a worker essentially inputting the vote on a voting machine.
Sterling said both Republican and Democrat monitors were on site to observe this process, as well as monitors from the Secretary of State’s Office, and the issues were now closed.
Hice said that there were ‘glitches’ in Gwinnett County.
The count in the district took nearly a week in part due to a series of software glitches from the state’s new elections system, run by Dominion Voting Systems.
Elections workers repeatedly endured issues when trying to submit totals to the state, and an election night software error forced the county to re-adjudicate thousands of absentee ballots that had already been processed.
But it was overcome, and the vote certified. They did not affect the count.
He said they ‘were stopping counting’ – something factually incorrect.
Hice said that in Michigan Republican votes were being ‘flipped’ to Biden by machines.
On Monday officials concluded issues in the unofficial vote counts in Michigan’s Antrim and Oakland counties were caused by human error, not software glitches, according to reviews by the Michigan Department of State, county clerks and election security experts.
Officials in Michigan said that they were isolated cases that did not signal wider issues with vote counts elsewhere.
A third clip retweeted by Trump was also full of unsubstantiated allegations.
Ric Grenell appeared in a third Newsmax clip watched and retweeted by Trump
Ric Grenell claimed that ballots were being mailed to Nevada from out of state.
He appeared to be making the same point as Harrington.
Joe Gloria, registrar for Clark County, Nevada, said it was not unusual to have out-of-state ballots.
‘We’ll have to look through those numbers, but it’s not out of the ordinary at all for somebody not to live here but be eligible to vote here,’ said Gloria.
‘This is just the tip of the iceberg,’ said Grenell, again without evidence.
‘We have a very long fight ahead to fix the voter rolls and the registration lists.’
He said they had one confirmed process of a dead person voting.
STATE-BY-STATE: WHERE TRUMP IS SUING AND HOW IT’S GOING
BIDEN MAJORITY TRUMP NEEDS TO OVERTURN: 45,646
On Monday the Trump campaign filed their big shot at overturning all mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania, claiming that Democratic and Republican counties did not administer them in the same way; instances of fraud; and that poll watchers could not see them being counted.
The case faces an uphill struggle. The Supreme Court has already allowed mail-in ballots to be issued in Pennsylvania, and the claim of poll watchers not seeing them being counted had failed before when a Trump lawyer last Friday agreed that a ‘non-zero number’ of Republicans had observed the count in Philadelphia.
The new suit provided no actual evidence of fraud.
Trump’s campaign last Wednesday filed a motion to intervene in a case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court challenging a decision from the state’s highest court that allowed election officials to count mail-in ballots postmarked by Tuesday’s Election Day that were delivered through Friday.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito on Friday night ordered county election boards in the state to separate mail-in ballots received after 8 p.m. EST on Election Day.
Pennsylvania election officials have said those ballots were already being separated.
The justices previously ruled there was not enough time to decide the merits of the case before Election Day but indicated they might revisit it afterwards.
Alito, joined by fellow conservative Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch, said in a written opinion that there was a ‘strong likelihood’ the Pennsylvania court’s decision violated the U.S. Constitution.
Pennsylvania’s Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar has said late-arriving ballots are a tiny proportion of the overall vote in the state.
Rudy Giuliani unveiled a ‘witness’ to his claims – a Republican poll watcher – on Saturday but the man, Daryl Brooks, has not been included in any legal papers. He was previously convicted of exposing himself to underage girls.
BIDEN MAJORITY TRUMP NEEDS TO OVERTURN: 16,985
Trump’s campaign said on Saturday it had sued in Arizona, alleging that the state’s most populous county incorrectly rejected votes cast on Election Day by some voters.
The lawsuit, filed in state Superior Court in Maricopa County, said poll workers told some voters to press a button after a machine had detected an ‘overvote.’
The campaign said that decision disregarded voters’ choices in those races, and the lawsuit suggested those votes could prove ‘determinative’ in the outcome of the presidential race.
It is a modification of an earlier suit which was submitted and then withdrawn claiming that Trump voters were given sharpies to mark their ballots and claiming this made them more prone to error. The ‘sharpie-gate’ claims have n basis in fact, Arizona’s secretary of state says.
BIDEN MAJORITY TRUMP NEEDS TO OVERTURN: 36,186
A voter, a member of the media and two candidate campaigns sued Nevada’s secretary of state and other officials to prevent the use of a signature-verification system in populous Clark County and to provide public access to vote counting.
A federal judge rejected the request on Friday, saying there was no evidence the county was doing anything unlawful.
No new suits have been lodged so far.
Trump campaign officials have also claimed evidence that non-residents have voted but have not sued.
BIDEN MAJORITY TRUMP NEEDS TO OVERTURN: 10.620
The Trump campaign on Wednesday filed a lawsuit in state court in Chatham County that alleged late-arriving ballots were improperly mingled with valid ballots, and asked a judge to order late-arriving ballots be separated and not be counted.
The case was dismissed on Thursday. No new suits have been filed. The state is going to a recount.
The two Republican senators, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, called for the GOP Secretary of State to quit claiming there were election irregularities Monday. They offered no evidence and he scoffed: ‘That’s not going to happen.’
BIDEN MAJORITY TRUMP NEEDS TO OVERTURN: 146,123
Trump’s campaign on Wednesday filed a lawsuit in Michigan to halt the vote count in the state. The lawsuit alleged that campaign poll watchers were denied ‘meaningful access’ to counting of ballots, plus access to surveillance video footage of ballot drop boxes.
On Thursday, Michigan Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens dismissed the case, saying there was no legal basis or evidence to halt the vote and grant requests.
No new suit has been filed.
U.S. POSTAL SERVICE
The U.S. Postal Service said about 1,700 ballots had been identified in Pennsylvania at processing facilities during two sweeps on Thursday and were being delivered to election officials, according to a court filing early Friday.
The Postal Service said 1,076 ballots, had been found at its Philadelphia Processing and Distribution Center. About 300 were found at the Pittsburgh processing center, 266 at a Lehigh Valley facility and others at other Pennsylvania processing centers.
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington is overseeing a lawsuit by Vote Forward, the NAACP, and Latino community advocates.
Sullivan on Thursday ordered twice-daily sweeps at Postal Service facilities serving states with extended ballot receipt deadlines.
The judge plans to hold a status conference on Monday.