Election Outcome Unclear Amid Pending Recounts and Legal Challenges

November 8, 2020 Updated: November 23, 2020

Updated Nov. 22, 2020 (9:48 a.m. ET)

On Nov. 3, Americans voted to elect their next leader. As of Nov. 21, most state results have not been certified and legal challenges and recounts are pending in key swing states. The Epoch Times will continue to update this article as new information becomes available on the status of the 2020 presidential election.

The Epoch Times will not declare a winner of the election until all results are certified and any legal challenges are resolved. Read more here.

Key Points on the Status of the Presidential Race:

  • Legal challenges are ongoing in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Nevada.
  • The Trump campaign says it will seek a partial recount in Wisconsin that targets several counties.

Overview of Key Lawsuits and Recounts

Pennsylvania

Republican Party of Pennsylvania v. Boockvar et al (20-542) – U.S. Supreme Court

Pennsylvania Republicans are asking the nation’s top court to review a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling that requires election officials to accept absentee ballots received up to three days after Nov. 3. Republicans are arguing that the court’s extension violates the Constitution as the decision to extend the deadline belongs to lawmakers, not the courts. The Supreme Court had previously rejected two requests by Republicans in this case: one to hold the state Supreme Court decision and the other to expedite consideration of a petition to review the merits of the case. Nevertheless, some members of the court have indicated an interest in taking up the case. A petition for a writ of certiorari is currently being considered.

Nov. 4: The Trump campaign files a motion to join the Supreme Court challenge.

Nov. 6: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito issues a temporary order in the Supreme Court case requiring Pennsylvania to segregate ballots that arrived after Election Day.

Nov. 9: Multiple Republican-led states file friend-of-the-court briefs in support of the lawsuit asking the Supreme Court to overturn a ruling that extended the deadline for mail-in ballots in the state.

Donald J. Trump For President, Inc. v. Boockvar (4:20-cv-02078)

The Trump campaign filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania seeking an injunction that blocks the Keystone State from certifying the results of the 2020 General Election, alleging that state election officials had “mismanaged the election process” and that the counting process was “shrouded in secrecy.”

Nov. 9: Lawsuit filed.

Nov. 12: Officials in the election battleground state of Pennsylvania and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) ask a federal judge to dismiss the Trump campaign’s lawsuit.

Nov. 17: Court hears oral arguments in the case over a motion to dismiss.

Nov. 18: Judge orders parties to file new briefs and motions to defend and clarify their positions and arguments in the case.

In Re: Canvass of absentee and mail-in ballots (89-93 EM 2020)

The Trump campaign filed five separate petitions for a review of the Philadelphia County Board of Election’s decision to count votes that appear to have errors or irregularities because voters did not print their name or their address in the space provided on the outer envelope. The case challenges over 8,300 ballots cast in the county.

Nov. 13: The Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia County denies all five petitions, prompting the Trump campaign to request an appeal to the appellate court.

Nov. 17: The Philadelphia County Board of Election asks the Pennslyvania Supreme Court to take up the case instead, arguing that the case is important and threatens to impact the board’s ability to meet reporting and certification deadlines (pdf).

Nov. 18: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court agrees to take up the case (pdf).

Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. et al v. Boockvar (602 M.D. 2020)

The Trump campaign sued to compel Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Kathy Boockvar and 67 counties to follow an earlier deadline for voters to provide missing proof of identification if not provided on their initial ballot. Boockvar issued election guidance that extended the Nov. 9 deadline by three days, the lawsuit (pdf) states.

Nov. 4: Lawsuit filed.

Nov. 5: A Pennsylvania judge orders all counties to segregate ballots received between Nov. 10 and Nov. 12 for which missing identification was received from ballots verified on or before Nov. 9. Those segregated ballots cannot be counted until approved by the court.

Nov. 12: The judge orders the state to not count the segregated ballots, ruling that Boockvar “lacked statutory authority” to issue the guidance to change the deadline.

In Re: Canvassing Observation (Commonwealth Court: 1094 CD 20; Supreme Court: 425 EAL 2020/30 EAP 2020)

The Trump campaign filed an appeal of a lower state court decision in Pennsylvania, asking the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania to halt vote counting until Republican observers are granted adequate access

Nov. 4: Lower state court decision appealed (pdf).

Nov. 5: A Pennsylvania appellate court rules in favor of the Trump campaign (pdf), prompting election officials to appeal.

Nov. 9: The state Supreme Court says that it would hear the election officials’ appeal (pdf).

Nov. 11: Election official files brief at the state Supreme Court (pdf).

Nov: 13: Trump campaign files brief at the state Supreme Court (pdf). Pennsylvania Democratic Party, who intervened in the case, files brief in the same court (pdf).

Nov. 17: Pennsylvania Supreme Court rules 5-2 to reverse appellate court’s decision. The majority panel rules the state’s election code does not set a minimum distance poll observers need to stand in order to watch ballot counts and meet the laws’ requirements.

Donald J. Trump for President v. Montgomery County Board of Elections (Trial court: 18680; Commonwealth Court: 1171 CD 2020)

The Trump campaign sued the Montgomery County Board of Elections to stop counting mail-in ballots that do not comply with the election requirements. The campaign alleges that election officials were counting ballots in which the outer declaration envelope was not completely filled in with voters’ signature, address, and date. The campaign identified about 600 ballots, at the time of the filing, that did not meet such requirements.

Nov. 5: Petition for review filed (pdf).

Nov. 13: Petition denied by the court (pdf). The Montgomery County Board of Elections was ordered to count the 592 ballots.

Nov. 16: The Trump campaign appeals case to the state’s Commonwealth Court (pdf).

Donald J. Trump for President v. Philadelphia County’s Board of Elections (20-cv-05533)

The Trump campaign sued Philadelphia County’s Board of Elections to seek an emergency injunction to stop ballot counting in Philadelphia.

Nov. 5: A federal judge denies the emergency request from the Trump campaign.

Wisconsin

Langenhorst v. Pecore (1:20-cv-01701)

A third-party lawsuit filed in Wisconsin is seeking to exclude election results in three of the state’s counties, alleging that “sufficient evidence that illegal votes were counted.” The lawsuit, filed by three voters, asks the court to invalidate and block the certification of the election results.

Nov. 13: Lawsuit filed.

Nov. 16: Plaintiffs voluntarily request to dismiss the lawsuit and the judge terminated the case.

Recount update:

Nov. 4: The Trump campaign says it will request a recount in Wisconsin.

Nov. 7: Justin Clark, Trump’s deputy campaign manager, announces that his team would initiate the recount.

Nov. 18: The Trump campaign says it will file for a partial recount in Wisconsin that targets several counties, spending $3 million to cover the estimated cost.

Georgia

Wood v. Raffensperger (1:20-cv-04651)

Lin Wood, an attorney with Trump’s reelection campaign sued Georgia’s Secretary of State and election officials in a bid to stop the certification of election results, claiming that election rules unconstitutionally changed by state officials could have invalidated absentee ballots cast in the 2020 election.

Nov. 13: Lawsuit filed.

Nov. 16: Amended complaint filed (pdf).

Nov. 19: Federal judge denies a request to block the certification of the state’s election results. The judge ruled that Wood lacked legal standing as an individual voter to challenge Georgia’s election procedures.

In Re: Enforcement of Election Laws and Securing Ballots Cast or Received After 7:00 P.M. on November 3, 2020

The Trump campaign and the Georgia Republican Party filed a lawsuit in Georgia alleging that absentee ballots were improperly counted after the state’s deadline.

Nov. 4: Lawsuit filed.

Nov. 5: A judge in Georgia dismisses the lawsuit.

Recount updates:

Nov. 6: Georgia’s secretary of state announces that the state will have a recount.

Nov. 11: Georgia’s secretary of state announces the state would conduct a manual hand recount.

Nov. 13: The largest hand recount of ballots in U.S. history begins in Georgia. The secretary of state’s office has instructed county election officials to complete the audit by 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 18. The deadline for the state to certify the results is Nov. 20. The Trump campaign is challenging the recount process because it does not include signature matching.

Nov. 19: Georgia finishes its statewide risk-limiting hand count audit of the 2020 election results and “upheld and reaffirmed the original outcome produced by the machine tally of votes cast.” The Trump campaign is disputing the results, arguing that the hand recount did not include a signature matching process and so “simply recounted all of its illegal ballots.”

Nov. 21: The Trump campaign requests a new recount citing a lack of signature matching and “other vital safeguards” during the risk-limiting audit.

Arizona

Aguilera v. Fontes et al (CV2020-014562)

Two Arizona residents filed a lawsuit against state officials, seeking relief for a violation of their right to vote when election officials allegedly failed to follow the correct election procedures. Laurie Aguilera had claimed she was denied the right to vote because she was not given a new ballot after her vote was rejected by the tabulation machine. Meanwhile, Dovocan Drobina claims that his vote was not properly counted by the machines.

Nov. 12: Lawsuit filed.

Nov. 20: A state judge dismisses the challenge.

Arizona Republican Party v Fontes et al (CV2020-014553)

The Republican Party of Arizona filed a lawsuit (pdf) against Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes and other state officials, seeking a hand count of votes by precinct, as opposed to by voting centers. Under the Secretary of State’s manual, election officials must perform a limited precinct hand count audit after every general election. For the 2020 election, Maricopa County set up “vote centers” across the county rather than assign voters to “polling places” in their precincts, as had been the traditional practice in prior elections. The difference in sampling vote centers compared to precincts is that there are significantly fewer vote centers. The state’s Republicans, hence, are asking for the sampling of precincts rather than vote centers for the hand count audit.

Nov. 13: Lawsuit filed.

Nov. 18: Oral arguments scheduled.

Nov. 19: A state judge dismisses the lawsuit (pdf).

Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. et al vs Hobbs et al (CV2020-014248)

The Trump campaign and the RNC filed a lawsuit over rejected votes in Maricopa County. The lawsuit alleges in-person votes were disregarded as a result of improper guidance provided by poll workers.

Nov. 7: Lawsuit filed.

Nov. 13: The Trump campaign drops its lawsuit, telling the court “tabulation of votes statewide has rendered unnecessary a judicial ruling as to the presidential electors (pdf).”

Nov. 16: Court dismisses the case.

Aguilera v. Fontes et al (CV2020-014083)

The Trump campaign and RNC asked an Arizona judge to let them join a lawsuit that alleges vote tabulation equipment in metro Phoenix was unable to record a voter’s ballot because she completed it with a county-issued Sharpie pen

Nov. 4: Lawsuit filed.

Nov. 5: The Trump campaign and RNC ask an Arizona judge to let them join the lawsuit.

Nov. 7: Attorneys who challenged the use of the markers tell the court they’re dismissing their legal challenge.

Nevada

Law et al v. Whitmer et al

The United States Electoral College candidates in Nevada who pledged to President Donald Trump filed an election contest on Nov. 17, alleging irregularities, improprieties, and fraud in the state’s 2020 presidential election. The contest, filed in the First Judicial District Court in Carson City, seeks to have Trump declared as the winner in Nevada, or to have the election annulled. The plaintiffs allege that the election machines used throughout the state are unreliable, that observers were denied access to the ballot duplication process, and that alleged vote-buying occurred through some Native American outreach programs.

Nov. 17: Election contest filed (pdf).

Stokke v. Cegavske (2:20-cv-02046)

A third-party in Nevada filed a lawsuit that had several of its allegations promoted by the Trump campaign. The lawsuit seeks to change the signature verification procedures used for processing ballots. The plaintiffs include the congressional campaigns of two Nevada Republicans and a voter.

Nov. 5: Lawsuit filed.

Nov. 6: A federal judge denies a request for a preliminary injunction or a temporary restraining order to block the use of the signature verification machine. No other actions have been taken in the case since.

Kraus v. Cegavske (20-oc-001421B)

The Trump campaign and the Nevada Republican Party sued election officials in the Las Vegas area, seeking to halt the ballot counting process immediately until Trump campaign volunteers are allowed to closely observe the process. The lawsuit was filed against Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, a Republican, and Joseph Gloria, registrar of voters for Clark County, Nevada’s most populous county, which includes the city of Las Vegas.

Oct. 23: Lawsuit filed (pdf).

Oct. 29: A state judge rejects a lawsuit seeking expanded access to poll watchers, prompting the Trump campaign to appeal that decision to the state Supreme Court.

Nov. 10: The Trump campaign moves to dismiss their appeal after reaching a settlement with state officials to allow for more observers.

Michigan

Cheryl A Costantino v City of Detroit (20-014780-AW)

The Great Lakes Justice Center filed a lawsuit (pdf) in Wayne County Circuit Court alleging voter fraud in ballot-counting procedures. The suit alleges county election officials allowed various fraudulent processing of votes, including telling poll workers to backdate ballots and not verify signatures on absentee ballots. Several witnesses have filed sworn affidavits attesting to alleged election fraud. The plaintiffs, two poll challengers, are seeking a temporary restraining order on ballot counting. The judge in the case heard arguments on Nov. 11 over a motion asking the court to block the certification of election results, to order an audit, and for a protective order.

Nov. 9: Lawsuit filed

Nov. 11: Judge hears arguments over a motion asking the court to block the certification of election results, to order an audit, and for a protective order.

Nov. 13: Judge denies the requests submitted in the plaintiffs’ motion. The plaintiffs sought an order for an audit of the election and a delay to the certification of the results.

Nov. 16: The plaintiffs appeal the judge’s order issued on Nov. 13. The Michigan State Court of Appeals denied the appeal.

Nov. 17: The plaintiffs appeal the Michigan State Court of Appeals decision at the Michigan Supreme Court.

Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. v. Benson (1:20-cv-01083) – U.S. District Court Western District of Michigan Southern Division

The Trump campaign sued Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and other officials in a federal court, alleging pervasive election irregularities and violations in Wayne County. The lawsuit is also seeking to determine the accuracy of tabulating equipment or software used in the state due to reports of malfunctioning software.

Nov. 11: Lawsuit filed.

Nov. 17: Democratic National Committee and Michigan Democratic Party, both of whom asked to intervene in the case, ask the court to dismiss the case (pdf).

Nov. 19: The Trump campaign announces it was withdrawing the lawsuit after two Republicans on an election board in Wayne County rescinded their votes to certify the county’s 2020 election results. The campaign’s lawyer files a notice of voluntary dismissal (pdf).

Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. v. Benson (20-000225-MZ) – Michigan Court of Claims

The Trump campaign filed a lawsuit in Michigan to halt vote counting until Republican observers are granted adequate access.

Nov. 4: Lawsuit filed.

N0v. 5: Michigan judge denies request by the Trump campaign (pdf).

Nov. 6: The Trump campaign files a motion asking the state’s court of appeals to review the case. The Michigan Court of Appeals subsequently sends a letter to the campaign on Nov. 9 asking for missing documents.