Trump Campaign Aims to Pause Vote Counting in Michigan and Pennsylvania

Gene Maddaus
·3-min read

The Trump campaign announced Wednesday that it would file suits in Pennsylvania and Michigan to pause the counting of ballots so that the campaign’s election observers can be granted access to the counting process.

Joe Biden was called the winner of Michigan by the Associated Press at 6 p.m. He led there by by about 1.3%, or about 70,000 votes. In Pennsylvania, Trump had a 600,000 vote lead early Wednesday morning, but that lead dwindled to just over 300,000 as the counting went on. The counting there is expected to go until Friday, and that state has not been called.

The Trump campaign said that observers in Philadelphia had been kept more than 25 feet away from the counting process.

“We are also suing to temporarily halt counting until there is meaningful transparency and Republicans can ensure all counting is done above board and by the law,” said Justin Clark, Trump’s deputy campaign manager.

Biden was declared the winner of Wisconsin with a 20,000 vote margin, but the Trump campaign is seeking a recount there.

In Michigan, the Trump campaign says it has not been given “meaningful access” to the counting locations.

“President Trump’s campaign has not been provided with meaningful access to numerous counting locations to observe the opening of ballots and the counting process, as guaranteed by Michigan law,” said Bill Stepien, Trump’s campaign manager. “We have filed suit today in the Michigan Court of Claims to halt counting until meaningful access has been granted. We also demand to review those ballots which were opened and counted while we did not have meaningful access. President Trump is committed to ensuring that all legal votes are counted in Michigan and everywhere else.”

Michigan’s secretary of state, Jocelyn Benson, called the suit “frivolous” and “meritless” in an appearance on MSNBC.

“Recognize it for what it is: an attempt to confuse and obfuscate what actually is a very transparent, secure process in Michigan,” she said.

Benson said earlier that tens of thousands of votes remain to be counted in the state. She said she expected that the majority of them would be counted by the end of the day.

Speaking at the White House early on Wednesday morning, Trump complained of “fraud” in the election, and said he would go to the Supreme Court to seek to stop the ballot counting.

Trump has tweeted several times since then about the counting.

“They are finding Biden votes all over the place — in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan,” he said. “So bad for our Country!”

In Pennsylvania, the Trump campaign also plans to intervene in the state Republican Party’s lawsuit challenging the state’s decision to count mail ballots that arrive within three days of the election, provided they are postmarked by Election Day. The Supreme Court had previously declined to overturn a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling allowing such ballots to be counted.

“Pennsylvania’s unhinged, radical left Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar has tried her hardest to bake in a backdoor to victory for Joe Biden with late, illegal ballots in collusion with the partisan state supreme court,” Clark said in a statement.

The Biden campaign has pledged to defend the election process from any suits brought by Trump’s team.

More from Variety

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.