Trump says it's not 'fair' that votes are counted after Election Day

Donald Trump.
(Image credit: AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

President Trump on Sunday decried the fact that votes will be counted after Election Day, telling reporters in North Carolina that his lawyers will immediately begin challenging ballots cast in certain states.

"I don't think it's fair we have to wait for a long period of time after the election," Trump said. "Should've gotten their ballots in a long time before that. Could've gotten their ballots in a month ago. I think it's a ridiculous decision."

Because so many states have expanded early and mail-in voting due to the coronavirus pandemic, it will likely take longer than normal for each state to count every ballot. It's a tight race in several battleground states, like Florida and Ohio, and Trump said he thinks it's "terrible" that absentee votes will be counted in Pennsylvania and North Carolina after the polls close, claiming there's "great danger to it."

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Trump also denied an Axios report earlier Sunday that he plans on declaring victory on Tuesday night if he appears to be leading, and will claim ballots counted later are illegitimate. Democrats have expressed concern that Trump will prematurely declare victory if he is ahead on Tuesday night, and their fears were enhanced on Sunday when Trump surrogate Jason Miller claimed on This Week that if more blue votes come in after midnight, it's a Democratic attempt to "steal" the election.

Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox (R) called Miller's allegation "garbage," and clarified that "elections are never decided on election night. In Utah (and most states) it takes two weeks to finalize counting and certify results. It really doesn't matter who is ahead on election night, it only matters when every eligible vote is counted and each county canvasses and certifies their vote totals."

Presidential historian Michael Beschloss also tweeted that Americans "did not know the presidential winner for certain before midnight on election nights in 1960, 1968, 1976, 2000, 2004, 2016. No one should pretend there would be anything historically unusual if that happens again in 2020."

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