Trump making longshot bid to slow state vote certifications

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In this Nov. 6, 2020, photo, Arizona elections officials continue to count ballots inside the Maricopa County Recorder's Office in Phoenix. The 2020 presidential election officially entered the record books Saturday the turnout reached 61.8%, eclipsing the recent mark set by Barack Obama's first presidential campaign in 2008 and demonstrating the extraordinary engagement of Americans in the referendum on Donald Trump's presidency. (AP Photo/Matt York)

WASHINGTON – With time and options running out, President Donald Trump's campaign is peppering states with a flurry of legal challenges aimed at slowing down the vote certification process — a longshot strategy that has almost no chance of reversing President-elect Joe Biden's victory.

The campaign is seeking to halt the vote count in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Arizona until they can have partisan poll watchers inspecting the voting process to ensure “illegal” ballots are not counted. But they have presented no evidence that illegal ballots have been counted, let alone counted in so great a number that it would make a difference in the loss to Biden.

Trump's own administration issued a resounding rebuke Thursday to his claims of fraud.

“There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised,” according to the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, which spearheaded federal election protection efforts. “The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history.”

States are still counting and certifying the results of the election, which is normal in the days after presidential races. When the count is completed, each governor is required by law to prepare “as soon as practicable” documents known as “Certificates of Ascertainment” of the vote. The certificates list the electors’ names and the number of votes cast for the winner and loser. The certificates, carrying the seal of each state, are sent to the archivist of the United States.

Dec. 8 is the deadline for resolving election disputes at the state level. All state recounts and court contests over presidential election results are to be completed by this date. Some states set earlier deadlines of late November for certification.

But Matt Morgan, the Trump campaign's general counsel, said Thursday evening they were seeking to halt the certification until they can get a better handle on where the vote tallies are in states and whether they would have the right to automatic recounts.

“Our legal strategy is to proceed to bring resolution to any of our issues prior to final certification,” Morgan said. He said the strategy would reveal itself to be successful in time. “You can’t eat an entire apple in one bite.”