Trump backers drop Biden vote challenge cases in four states


U.S. President Donald Trump replaces his putter as he plays golf at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, U.S., November 15, 2020.

Joshua Roberts| Reuters

Plaintiffs aligned with President Donald Trump in four states on Monday abruptly dropped recently filed lawsuits challenging ballots seen as giving President-elect Joe Biden his margin of victory in those locales.

The dismissals of the cases, which all involved plaintiffs represented by lawyer James Bopp and the conservative group True the Vote, occurred in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

The cases are among a group filed by backers of Trump and the president’s own campaign as part of an effort to reverse Biden’s projected win in the national race for the White House.

Those efforts have largely failed to gain traction and it is not clear that Trump has any chance of overturning his loss through legal actions.

With all 50 states’ results projected as of last Friday, Biden has 306 Electoral College votes, 36 more than he needs for victory, compared with just 232 votes for Trump.

But that has not stopped the president both from claiming otherwise and from falsely saying that he won the election.

When asked why the cases were being dismissed, Bopp told CNBC in an email that because of attorney-client privilege, “and because I do not telegraph my next moves, I cannot comment.”

It is not clear if Bopp will seek to resurrect the claims, but it is legally possible he and the plaintiffs could do so.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office noted that the plaintiffs represented by Bopp in the case there, which sought to invalidate election results in Wayne, Ingham and Washtenaw counties because of claims of voting irregularities and fraud, dropped the action even before serving the lawsuit on the defendants.

“This case was clearly designed to spread misinformation about the security and integrity of Michigan elections,” Nessel, a Democrat, said in a statement.

“Our elections have been conducted fairly and transparently and the results reflect the will of Michigan’s voters. Any claims to the contrary are wholly without merit,” Nessel said.

Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said, “We are not surprised that plaintiffs have moved to dismiss their own claims in this case as it confirms the pattern we have seen with these post-election suits — they are littered with baseless allegations that can’t be substantiated in a court of law.”

“There is no clear or coordinated strategy as these suits continue to crumble,” Clarke said in a statement.

“The litigants in these cases have been desperately court-shopping in search of a judge who might be sympathetic to their claims. These suits are part of a last-ditch attempt intended to promote chaos and discord while eroding public confidence in the outcome of our elections.”

Democratic U.S. presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign speech at the Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, U.S., September 21, 2020.

Mark Makela | Reuters

In Wisconsin, where Biden had a margin of victory of about 20,000 votes, a court filing by Bopp for three plaintiffs, Michael Langenhorst, Michael LeMay and Stephen Fifrick, said the case was being dropped “without prejudice,” which means the plaintiffs reserved their right to make the claims again.

When the suit was filed, the plaintiffs argued that there was evidence of enough illegal mail-in ballots counted in the three counties to invalidate the election results.

The Wisconsin suit was filed just last Thursday in U.S. District Court in Green Bay. The named defendants included the clerks of the three counties, Wisconsin’s elections director and elections commission chair, Gov. Tony Evers, and other officials.

The plaintiffs had argued that votes in the counties of Milwaukee, Dane and Menominee should be tossed out because “the sudden flood” of mail-in ballots had left election workers unable to carefully review those ballots for fraudulent ones.

The firm Law Forward, which was founded to challenge conservative election and voting-related legal efforts, said the dismissal was “an exercise in efficiency.”

“This case was entirely without merit and the plaintiffs saved the court the trouble of saying so,” Jeff Mandell, president of Law Forward, said in a statement.

Biden, a Democratic former vice president, narrowly defeated the Republican Trump in Wisconsin, which has 10 Electoral College votes.

Biden received 1.63 million votes to 1.61 million votes for Trump, a margin of 49.5% to 48.8%.

Trump has said he wants a recount of the votes in Wisconsin. Georgia is set to conduct a recount of its presidential election results because of Biden’s similarly narrow margin of victory there.

Milwaukee County went heavily for Biden, giving him more than 69% percent of the ballots cast. The actual vote margin in that county was more than 180,000 ballots for Biden.

Biden also far exceeded Trump in Dane County, which Biden won with 75.5% of the ballots.

In Menominee County, which had relatively few voters, Biden crushed Trump with 1,303 votes to just 278 votes for the incumbent.



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