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Trump Campaign Sues To Cease Or Pause Key States' Ballot Counting


Joe Biden now leads in Pennsylvania and Georgia. In fact, the race in Georgia is so close, the secretary of state there has ordered a recount. The Associated Press is not calling either state for the former vice president yet. Last night, President Trump, again, made baseless claims that Democrats are stealing the election. Again, those are false. Republicans have filed multiple lawsuits seeking to delay the count in several states and to claim widespread irregularities, even as election workers around the country continue to count the votes. I talked with NPR's Pam Fessler earlier this morning.

OK. So he did this earlier in the week. He did it again last night - the president claiming victory even when he has not achieved victory. And then he went on to make a series of allegations about illegal votes and ballots, quote, "miraculously appearing." Pam, there is no question here. These claims are false, correct?

PAM FESSLER, BYLINE: That's right, Rachel. There were actually so many false and misleading things that the president said last night about voting that it's really hard to know where to start. Some of them are comments we've heard him make before, such as main-in voting being corrupt. But there were a number of new allegations, too. And much of it goes back to what we've been talking about for weeks, that the early count of in-person votes would likely show the president in the lead but that mail-in ballots, which are counted later and more widely used by Democrats, would probably favor Biden but that the election isn't over until all the votes are counted. And what the president said instead is that he had already won and that his lead is being cut away as more ballots are, as he put it, found. Here's an example.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We were up by nearly 700,000 votes in Pennsylvania. I won Pennsylvania by a lot. And that gets whittled down to - I think they said now we're up by 90,000 votes, and they'll keep coming and coming and coming. They find them all over.

FESSLER: He even claimed that they, presumably the Democrats, figure out how many votes they need and then, quote, "they seem to be able to find them."

Now, one thing that the president did say that is true is that there's a tremendous amount of litigation, most of which has been filed by his campaign.

MARTIN: All right. So let's talk about the litigation. There are all these lawsuits in recent days that the Trump campaign has filed challenging the counting process. Is there any validity to any of it? I mean, are they getting traction in the courts?

FESSLER: Well, it's kind of been a mixed bag. I mean, they've won a few victories, a little bit more access to observe the vote counting. But some of the cases have been tossed out, you know, within hours. But, you know, they are trying to basically give Republicans more access to observing the counting. And, you know, it appears to...

MARTIN: We should, though, in some of these counting centers, the Republican - there were Republicans who were there monitoring the vote.

FESSLER: Right. Right, right. But they claim, you know - and part of it was because of social distancing with the pandemic that they weren't being close - allowed to be close enough so that they could actually see what was going on.

You know, some of the other challenges - you know, they're challenging specific mail-in ballots, you know, whether or not they are legitimate because they were received after Election Day, even though that's allowed in many states. And there was a new case filed yesterday in Nevada that alleges that many of the votes there were cast by people who no longer live there. You know, we'll have to see how all this plays out in court. Republicans say that they are trying to make sure that only legitimate votes are counted, but Democrats say most of these cases have no merit.

MARTIN: So the president has such a narrow path at this point. What does delaying the vote get Donald Trump right now?

FESSLER: Well, you know, mostly - I've been talking to a bunch of election law experts. And, you know, most of them believe that the main thing that he's trying to do is undermine confidence in the results if, in fact, he does lose after all the ballots are counted.

MARTIN: All right. NPR's Pam Fessler.

Thanks as always. We appreciate it.

FESSLER: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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