That, of course, seems highly unlikely — and that goes double, given the Trump effort’s losing streak in court. But it’s emblematic of and similar in scale to the Trump team’s effort to exclude ballots in the states that mattered. To date, in fact, lawsuits and other efforts have sought the exclusion of nearly 10 percent of all ballots cast in six key states: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The sum is now about 2.5 million votes out of just more than 25 million ballots cast in those states.
In the four states where the exclusion of ballots has been explicitly requested or endorsed, the number is even higher: 1 out of every 7 ballots.
The degree to which the Trump campaign has been involved in requesting the ballots’ exclusion is debatable. In Wisconsin, for instance, a lawsuit seeking the exclusion of about 792,000 ballots in heavily Democratic Dane County (Madison) and Milwaukee County was brought by people on behalf of the Trump campaign rather than by the campaign itself. In addition, Trump has celebrated the momentary decision by canvassers in Detroit-based Wayne County not to certify its results, but the canvassers have said they are acting independently.
The picture painted by the effort is clearly one of casting aside large chunks of votes in especially liberal and diverse areas — including, undoubtedly, overwhelmingly valid votes.
The Nevada lawsuit seeks the exclusion of 130,000 ballots because, it argues, signature-matching technology used by Clark County that approved 30 percent of ballots wasn’t accurate enough. The lawsuit doesn’t argue for the votes to be scrutinized but rather invalidated.
Similarly on Tuesday, Trump endorsed the decision by two Republican canvassers in Michigan’s heavily blue Wayne County not to certify 860,000 votes — more than 15 percent of all votes in the states. Trump didn’t just suggest that these ballots should be scrutinized but argued that he now led in the state, despite his 146,000-vote deficit in recorded votes. (The two Republican canvassers reversed course Tuesday and voted to certify the election results, then declared Wednesday evening that they want to take back their votes.)
Responding to a Twitter user who said Trump’s lead would be 177,000 votes without Wayne County, Trump seemed to endorse the prospect: “Flip Michigan back to TRUMP."
The Associated Press reports that Trump was in contact with the GOP canvassers on Tuesday night after the results were certified and expressed gratitude for what they did. The two canvassers then on Wednesday sought to rescind their votes in favor of certification.
Similarly, in Wisconsin, a lawsuit brought by three people on behalf of Trump argued for the exclusion of ballots in Dane, Menominee and Milwaukee counties. The three counties include 792,000 out of the state’s 3.3 million votes — about 24 percent of all votes. The suit was dismissed this week and withdrawn by those filing it.
And last comes Pennsylvania. The Trump campaign has argued for the exclusion of about 10,000 ballots that arrived after Election Day but were postmarked by then — which was endorsed by a state Supreme Court ruling that allowed a three-day grace period. It has also sought to have 592 votes thrown out in Montgomery County in suburban Philadelphia.
But its biggest effort is in the two urban centers in the state: Pittsburgh-based Allegheny County and Philadelphia County. Its lawsuit initially argued for the exclusion of more than 680,000 mail ballots in those two counties. Then the lawsuit was watered down to focus on the much smaller issue of voters who were allowed to fix errors on their ballots. The Trump campaign falsely denied it had scaled back the suit.
On Tuesday, though, Trump attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani told a judge the campaign would again assert that those 680,000 ballots are invalid.
… Giuliani said that Trump’s campaign was seeking … to throw out about 680,000 ballots cast in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, because, he said, Republican observers were not allowed to watch them being counted.But Trump’s attorneys had removed legal claims relating to that issue in an amended version of the lawsuit they filed over the weekend, the judge reminded him.“The poll-watching claims were deleted,” Brann told Giuliani. “They’re now not before this court, so why should I consider them now?”Giuliani — who in the days before the hearing had falsely denied that the claims were deleted — was forced to acknowledge that they had been. He said that the campaign would file a third version of its lawsuit restoring the allegations.
The re-upping of the claim again means the Trump campaign is seeking to throw out almost 1 out of every 10 votes in Pennsylvania, which had about 6.9 million votes in total.
The fact that such things are sought is surely a reflection of the Trump campaign’s desperation. But it’s also worth noting just how many — of what are in all likelihood valid votes — it’s seeking to cast out in the name of changing the results. And right now, that number is about 1 out of every 10 votes in the key states. Lawsuits in Arizona and Georgia could soon drive those numbers up.
“You should want every legal vote to count,” Fox News host Jeanine Pirro said in a tweet promoted by Trump this weekend.
His legal case clearly rests on the idea that not all legal ones will, given that allegedly fraudulent votes aren’t nearly enough to overturn the result.