Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) on Thursday questioned the lack of transparency in counting votes in Pennsylvania and other contested states and vowed that he would introduce legislation to protect election integrity.
“If last 24 hrs. have made anything clear, it’s that we need new election integrity laws NOW. Ban ballot harvesting, guarantee poll watcher access, make ballot-counting transparent. I will introduce,” he wrote.
Hawley’s message came as President Donald Trump and his campaign began contesting voting rule changes and how ballots were counted in the Nov. 3 election. The irregularities and lack of transparency in counting mail-in ballots in this presidential election have prompted the president to claim that there have been pockets of potential fraud or error in ballot counts.
No details are available yet about Hawley’s upcoming legislation. The senator’s office did not immediately respond to The Epoch Times’ request for comment.
Trump and the top GOP leaders have been critical of bulk mail-in ballots and potential election fraud through “ballot harvesting,” as well as the way Republican poll watchers were allegedly prevented from effectively observing the process at election sites.
As the windows of an absentee ballot vote-counting center in Detroit, Michigan, was shown being covered, many Trump supporters raised concerns on social media. Hawley wrote, “What is going on here? Why the secrecy?”
Tracy Wimmer, the director of media relations for the Michigan Secretary of State, responded to these questions by posting a statement that said poll challengers and workers can direct concerns to election inspectors.
“This has been a bipartisan, open, and transparent process from the beginning, with a record number of Republican challengers observing it. The individuals who made these claims to you said they were challengers which means they have the ability to bring any violation they thought has occurred to the election inspector,” Wimmer wrote on Twitter responding to a post by Matt Finn, a Fox News national correspondent.
In addition, an attorney for the city of Detroit, Lawrence Garcia, told Finn, “he ordered some of the windows be covered because some of the workers nearest the windows felt concerned with people outside potentially filming them or ballots. Not all the windows were blocked.”
By Nov. 5, neither Trump nor Democratic presidential challenger Joe Biden had earned the votes needed to win.
So far, the battleground states of Nevada and Pennsylvania have allowed the Trump campaign their lawsuit but Judges in Georgia and Michigan denied the challenges brought by the Trump campaign. Biden’s campaign launched its own defense fund to collect money to fight potential legal battles.
Republicans who have spoken out about the ballot counting issues have emphasized that all “legal” votes should be counted while Democrats have been saying “all votes” should be counted. They have accused the Trump campaign of trying to undermine the integrity of the election.
Biden’s legal adviser, Robert Bauer, said on Wednesday: “They’re just basically wasting time and giving Donald Trump an opportunity to express yet another set of grievances, when in fact the only grief he should be experiencing is over the loss of the election.”
New Lawsuits in Battleground States
The Trump campaign filed lawsuits Wednesday in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Georgia, laying the groundwork for contesting battleground states. The new filings join existing Republican legal challenges in Pennsylvania and Nevada, demanding better access for campaign observers to locations where ballots are being processed and counted, and raise absentee ballot concerns, according to the Trump campaign.
On Thursday, the Trump campaign said they are filing a lawsuit in Nevada, alleging that more than 10,000 votes in the state were cast by voters who no longer live there. The move came as Biden held an 8,000-vote lead in the state, which, with its six Electoral College votes, could prove crucial in the presidential race.
Trump’s campaign has won one legal fight so far, which allowed its election monitors to stand six feet away from the ballot counting in Philadelphia.
Trump campaign officials said on Nov. 4 that observers had been forced to watch ballots being counted from as far away as 100 feet. Hours after the ruling, Trump campaign officials said Philadelphia’s sheriff refused to enforce the order.
Tom Ozimek contributed to this report.