US Election 2020: Trump wants ban on counting post-November 3 votes

Donald Trump says he hopes courts will ban counting of ANY votes arriving after November 3 in new attack on mail-in ballot deadlines

  • He said he hopes states that ‘want to take a lot of time’ counting ballots ‘won’t be allowed by the various courts’
  • Comes after Supreme Court weighed in on counting mail ballots in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin
  • Trump said Tuesday it would be ‘totally inappropriate and I don’t believe that that’s by our laws’ if states are counting ballots for two weeks 

President Donald Trump said Wednesday he hopes courts will step in to prevent states from counting ballots after Nov. 3, when he is demanding winner in the presidential election be declared.

Trump made the comment in Nevada from a brief availability at his Las Vegas hotel, on a West Coast swing where he hopes to chip away at Joe Biden‘s lead in state polls amid a nationwide early vote and mail voting surge.

‘We’ll see what happens at the end of the day. Hopefully it won’t go longer than that [Election Day]. Hopefully the few states remaining that want to take a lot of time after November 3rd to count ballots, that won’t be allowed by the various courts,’ Trump said.

President Donald Trump delivers remarks at his hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., October 28, 2020. He said states counting ballots after Election Day hopefully ‘won’t be allowed by the various courts’

His comment – expressing a desire to have courts prevent states from counting votes after Election Day – goes beyond earlier comments complaining about a potentially prolonged count.

He said Tuesday that ‘it would be very, very proper and very nice if a winner were declared on November 3 instead of counting ballots for two weeks.’

But he also said that would be ‘totally inappropriate and I don’t believe that that’s by our laws.

His comments about shutting down the count come amid tension and litigation about what will happen in key states amid the pandemic. 

The Supreme Court released a decision Monday that allows Wisconsin to discount any ballots that come in after an Election Day deadline, even if they have a proper postmark and follow other procedures, despite concerns about slow mail delivery amid the pandemic. 

In another decision last week, the Court 4-4 was deadlocked on a Pennsylvania decision, allowing changes to go into effect there allowing additional days of counting. 

Pennsylvania has emerged both as the key battleground that could deliver victory and Ground Zero for legal fights. 

The Pennsylvania Republican Party is suing, seeking to get the Supreme Court to go back to the case nullify the three-day counting extension imposed by the state supreme court.

This time, new Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who took the oath Tuesday, is on the court.

Trump also raised doubts about the election in Nevada, another battleground where polls have him trailing Biden. ‘We’re a little concerned with all those ballots floating around in Nevada. Got a lot of ballots floating around in Nevada,’ Trump told a crowd in Arizona Wednesday. 

Pennsylvania Democrats in their response say they are seeking an order to segregate the ballots they receive after Election Day.  

Election scholar Rick Hassen writes on his blog that the reason may be ‘they want to prevent a situation where the later ballots are commingled with the earlier ballots, and in response the Republican state legislature says that the election was fundamentally unfair’ and then tries to name its own slate of electors – for Trump. 

Although networks often call races on election night, states routinely spend days counting military, absentee, mail-in, and provisional ballots, and only certify the results days and weeks later.

It is not at all clear if Trump intends to cut off those counts immediately after Election Day. 

It is not entirely clear that shutting down the count on Election Day would be to the GOP’s advantage. Guy Cecil of Priorities USA PAC said Tuesday that based on battleground survey data nearly half of lean Biden voters already voted. He said Democrats have a better response rate for returning ballots they have requested – meaning there are still many GOP ballots Trump has yet to bank. 


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