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Biden sees victory, Trump sees lawyers

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US President Donald Trump’s campaign has filed lawsuits in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia, laying the groundwork for contesting battleground states as he slipped behind Democrat Joe Biden in the hunt for the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House.

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The new filings on Wednesday, joining existing Republican legal challenges in Pennsylvania and Nevada, demand better access for campaign observers to locations where ballots are being processed and counted, and absentee ballot concerns, the campaign said.

However, at one Michigan location in question The Associated Press observed poll watchers from both sides monitoring on Wednesday.

The AP called Michigan for Democrat Joe Biden on Wednesday. Nevada, Pennsylvania and Georgia are undecided.

The Trump campaign also is seeking to intervene in a Pennsylvania case at the Supreme Court that deals with whether ballots received up to three days after the election can be counted, deputy campaign manager Justin Clark said.

The actions reveal an emerging legal strategy that the president had signalled for weeks, namely that he would attack the integrity of the voting process in states where the result could mean his defeat.

His campaign also announced that it would ask for a recount in Wisconsin, a state the AP called for Biden on Wednesday afternoon. Campaign manager Bill Stepien cited “irregularities in several Wisconsin counties,” without providing specifics.

Biden said Wednesday the count should continue in all states, adding, “No one’s going to take our democracy away from us – not now, not ever.”

His campaign didn’t immediately comment on the new lawsuits in Michigan or Pennsylvania over access for observers. But it has been seeking donations for what it is calling the “Biden Fight Fund.”

“Our legal team is standing by, and they will prevail,” Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon wrote in a fundraising email to supporters earlier Wednesday.

Election officials continued to count votes across the country, the normal process on the day following voting.

Unlike in previous years, states were contending with an avalanche of mail ballots driven by fears of voting in person during a pandemic.

At least 103 million people voted early, either by mail or in-person, representing 74 per cent of the total votes cast in the 2016 presidential election.

Every election, results reported on election night are unofficial and the counting of ballots extends past Election Day. Mail ballots normally take more time to verify and count. This year, because of the large numbers of mail ballots and a close race, results were expected to take longer.

The Trump campaign said it is calling for a temporary halt in the counting in Michigan and Pennsylvania until it is given “meaningful” access in numerous locations and allowed to review ballots that already have been opened and processed.

The AP’s Michigan call for Biden came after the suit was filed. The president is ahead in Pennsylvania but his margin is shrinking as more mailed ballots are counted.

There have been no reports of fraud or any type of ballot concerns out of Pennsylvania. The state had 3.1 million mail-in ballots that take time to count and an order allows them to be received and counted up until Friday if they are postmarked by November 3.

GOP lawyers had already launched legal challenges involving absentee votes in Pennsylvania and Nevada, contesting local decisions that could take on national significance in the close election.

Trump, addressing supporters at the White House early Wednesday, talked about taking the undecided race to the Supreme Court.

Though it was unclear what he meant, his comments evoked a reprise of the court’s intervention in the 2000 presidential election that ended with a decision effectively handing the presidency to George W Bush.

-AAP

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