election 2020
November 23, 2020

Michigan's board of canvassers certified the state's presidential election results with a bipartisan vote Monday, giving the all clear for President-elect Joe Biden to receive Michigan's 16 electoral votes.

After a tumultuous few weeks, during which the possibility of a partisan split among the four canvassers seemed like a possibility, the certification put a cap on the matter for many observers. In short, the common refrain was: it's over.

Not so for the Trump campaign, however. In a statement, Jenna Ellis, the campaign's legal adviser, said the board's vote was "simply a procedural step" and insisted President Trump's legal team would continue to pursue its unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud across the country.

It's a difficult promise to make, of course. The campaign's efforts are becoming more of a long shot each day, as states continue to certify their votes and lawsuits get tossed out by judges with little interruption. Tim O'Donnell

November 23, 2020

Aaron Van Langevelde, a Michigan GOP canvassing board member, on Monday voted to certify the state's election results. And with that, Michigan's 16 electoral votes, as expected, will go to President-elect Joe Biden.

The four-person board, which is split between Democrats and Republicans, certified the vote 3-0, with the other GOP member abstaining, Politico's Tim Alberta reports.

Biden won Michigan by around 150,000 votes, but it wasn't always clear until recently that the board would certify because of President Trump's unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud in the state.

Langevelde put that to rest, stating "we have a clear legal duty to certify the results of the election as shown by the returns that were given to us. We cannot and should not go beyond that." Tim O'Donnell

November 23, 2020

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) is speaking out against President Trump's attempt to get state legislatures to "dismiss the will" of voters, calling this idea "inconsistent" with a democratic society.

The Pennsylvania Republican on Monday reiterated his belief that Trump should "accept the outcome" of the 2020 election that he lost to President-elect Joe Biden after exhausting all of his legal options in the key battleground state. Toomey also slammed the president for calling on state legislatures to overturn the results of the election due to baseless allegations of widespread voter fraud.

"The idea that a sitting president would try to, I don't know, pressure, cajole, persuade, state legislators to dismiss the will of their voters and select their own group of electors and send them to the Electoral College, it's completely inconsistent with any kind of truly democratic society," Toomey told CNBC. "So that shouldn't be going on, in my view."

After holding a meeting with Michigan lawmakers at the White House on Friday before the certification of the vote in that state, Trump called on the "the Courts and/or Legislatures" to "do what has to be done to maintain the integrity of our elections." Those Michigan lawmakers who Trump met with, however, after the meeting said they haven't "been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan," a state Biden was projected to win.

Toomey previously shot down Trump's claims of widespread voter fraud in Pennsylvania during the election, saying he's not aware of "any significant wrongdoing." And over the weekend, after a key Trump campaign lawsuit was dismissed in Pennsylvania, Toomey congratulated Biden and said Trump "should accept the outcome of the election and facilitate the presidential transition process." Brendan Morrow

November 22, 2020

U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Brann — a conservative jurist — on Saturday threw out yet another lawsuit filed by the Trump campaign seeking to block the certification of the presidential election results in Pennsylvania.

The campaign's attorneys argued Pennsylvania counties violated the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law by taking different approaches to notifying voters before the election about mistakes on their mail-in ballots — some counties allowed voters to fix the errors, while others didn't notify them at all. Brann dismissed the argument entirely. He wrote that plaintiffs "seeking such a startling outcome" should "come formidably armed with compelling legal arguments and factual proof of rampant corruption," but instead the campaign presented "strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations." He likened the campaign's allegations of an equal protection violation to Frankenstein's monster, writing that it "has been haphazardly stitched together from two distinct theories in an attempt to avoid controlling precedent."

Brann's decision sealed the deal for Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who, much to President Trump's chagrin, congratulated President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on their victory shortly after it was made.

The Trump team isn't giving up in this instance, however. Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, along with legal adviser Jenna Ellis, released a statement arguing Brann's ruling actually helps their case because it will speed up their path to the Supreme Court. Read more at The Wall Street Journal and The Associated Press. Tim O'Donnell

November 21, 2020

A group of Republicans, including Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) are launching a lawsuit — in the hopes of blocking the certification of Pennsylvania's election results — that claims a state law passed in 2019 allowing for universal mail-in voting is unconstitutional. If that were the case, mail-in ballots would be invalidated, likely swinging the state back to President Trump.

The lawsuit quickly drew heated criticism, including accusations that Kelly (who was just re-elected himself) and the other plaintiffs are "openly rejecting democracy and the rule of law," but many observers were simply perplexed. For starters, the bill was passed over a year ago, raising questions as to why its constitutionality wasn't brought up between then and now. Plus, it was pushed through thanks to a majority GOP state legislature, with only one Republican member of the state House voting against it, while GOP senators backed it unanimously. Tim O'Donnell

November 21, 2020

Michigan's Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R) and House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R), the two state GOP lawmakers who met with President Trump at the White House on Friday, issued a joint statement following the encounter that they "have not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan" and, therefore, they will "follow the normal process regarding Michigan's electors."

After several legal setbacks, Trump was seemingly attempting to discourage Shirkey and Chatfield from certifying the presidential results in Michigan — where President-elect Joe Biden holds a 150,000-vote advantage — and instead have the state's GOP legislators choose electors. Ben Ginsburg, a long-time GOP election lawyer who has criticized Trump's actions throughout the election process, said the meeting was "unprecedented," adding that "there's been nothing close to this situation" in terms of a sitting president trying to interfere with a state's certification process.

But Ginsburg would perhaps feel some sense of relief after a person familiar with the content of Friday's meeting told The Wall Street Journal that Trump didn't directly pressure the lawmakers to block the vote from certification. Read more at Reuters and The Wall Street Journal. Tim O'Donnell

November 20, 2020

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) is rebuking President Trump for his "undemocratic" efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Romney in a statement late on Thursday blasted Trump's latest moves as the president continues to baselessly allege widespread voter fraud in the election and, according to Reuters, seeks to persuade "Republican legislators to intervene on his behalf in battleground states," including Michigan. The Trump campaign has not provided evidence of widespread fraud in the election in court, as Romney pointed out in his statement.

"Having failed to make even a plausible case of widespread fraud or conspiracy before any court of law, the president has now resorted to overt pressure on state and local officials to subvert the will of the people and overturn the election," Romney said in a statement. "It is difficult to imagine a worse, more undemocratic action by a sitting American president."

Romney was the only Republican senator who voted to convict Trump in his impeachment trial and has rebuked the president on numerous occasions, including when he failed to denounce the false QAnon conspiracy theory. He wasn't the only Republican to speak out against Trump's efforts to undermine the election results, though. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), who has also criticized Trump in the past, noted on Thursday that Trump's lawyers "have repeatedly refused to actually allege grand fraud" in court because "there are legal consequences for lying to judges."

Sasse added, following a bizarre press conference by Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani filled with conspiracy theories about the election, "Wild press conferences erode public trust. So no, obviously Rudy and his buddies should not pressure electors to ignore their certification obligations under the statute. We are a nation of laws, not tweets." Brendan Morrow

November 19, 2020

President Trump reportedly reached out to two Republican canvassers in Michigan who attempted to prevent results in the 2020 presidential race from being certified.

Two Republicans on the Wayne County Board of Canvassers, Monica Palmer and William Hartmann, earlier this week voted against certifying the election results in the county, only to reverse course. But after the board unanimously voted to certify the results, the two canvassers on Wednesday attempted to rescind their votes in favor of doing so. Prior to this attempt on Wednesday, The Associated Press reports Trump reached out to them.

"A person familiar with the matter said Trump reached out to the canvassers ... on Tuesday evening after the revised vote to express gratitude for their support," AP writes. "Then, on Wednesday, Palmer and Hartmann signed affidavits saying they believe the county vote 'should not be certified.'"

Palmer confirmed the reporting, telling The Washington Post that Trump "was checking in to make sure I was safe after hearing the threats and doxing that had occurred" and that they spoke on the phone on Tuesday night for about two minutes. She said they "really didn't discuss the details of the certification."

President-elect Joe Biden was projected to defeat Trump in Michigan on the day after the election, one of a number of states Trump lost after winning there in 2016. More than two weeks after Election Day, Trump has not conceded the race to Biden and continues to push baseless allegations of widespread voter fraud.

According to The Washington Post, Palmer and Hartmann claim they were "improperly pressured into certifying the election and accused Democrats of reneging on a promise to audit votes in Detroit." Despite their attempt to rescind their vote, the board's vice chair, Democrat Jonathan Kinloch, told The New York Times, "That vote was final. That vote was binding." Brendan Morrow

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