2020 Latest: Michigan judge dismisses Trump campaign lawsuit
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the presidential campaign (all times local):
A Michigan judge has dismissed a lawsuit by President Donald Trump’s campaign in a dispute over whether Republican challengers had access to the handling of absentee ballots.
Judge Cynthia Stephens noted that the lawsuit was filed late Wednesday afternoon, just hours before the last ballots were counted. She also said the defendant, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, was the wrong person to sue because she doesn’t control the logistics of local ballot counting, even if she is the state’s chief election officer.
The Associated Press called the Michigan presidential election for Democrat Joe Biden on Wednesday evening. Trump won the state in 2016.
The lawsuit claimed Benson, a Democrat, was allowing absentee ballots to be counted without teams of bipartisan observers as well as challengers. She was accused of undermining the “constitutional right of all Michigan voters … to participate in fair and lawful elections.”
Benson, through state attorneys, denied the allegations. Much of the dispute centered on the TCF Center in Detroit where pro-Trump protesters gathered while absentee ballots were being counted.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE:
Democrat Joe Biden is pushing closer to the 270 Electoral College votes needed to carry the White House, securing victories in the battlegrounds of Wisconsin and Michigan and narrowing President Donald Trump’s path.
— Biden pushes closer to victory as Trump presses legal threats
— With another Florida loss, Democrats begin second guessing
— EXPLAINER: States still in play and what makes them that way
— Trump sues in 3 states, laying ground for contesting outcome
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON:
A judge in Georgia has dismissed a lawsuit by the state Republican Party and President Donald Trump’s campaign that asked him to ensure one county was following state laws on processing absentee ballots.
Chatham County Superior Court Judge James Bass did not provide an explanation for his decision Thursday at the close of a roughly one-hour hearing. The county includes the heavily Democratic city of Savannah.
The suit had raised concerns about 53 absentee ballots that poll observers said were not part of an original batch of ballots. County elections officials testified that all 53 ballots had been received on time.
Joe Biden’s campaign is expressing optimism at the ultimate result of the election but warning supporters to “stay patient and stay calm” as vote counting continues.
Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said Thursday on a briefing call with reporters that “the story of today is going to be a very positive story” for their campaign, but cautioned that as the counting continues, “we need to allow it to get done and get done well.”
She says the campaign expects their lead to fluctuate in some states as more votes come in.
O’Malley Dillon also charged that legal challenges by President Donald Trump’s campaign to halt vote counting in some states and seek a recount in Wisconsin are a “flailing strategy” that are an “attempt to distract and delay” from the results of the election.
The Associated Press is not calling the presidential race yet because neither candidate has secured the 270 Electoral College votes needed for victory. Several key states were too early to call — Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina and Nevada.
Arizona state officials say there are about 450,000 ballots still to be counted in the Western battleground.
The AP says it is monitoring that vote count as it comes in. The AP has called the presidential race in Arizona for Democrat Joe Biden.
AP executive editor Sally Buzbee says: “The Associated Press continues to watch and analyze vote count results from Arizona. We will follow the facts in all cases.”
Biden holds a 2.35 percentage point lead over Trump in Arizona, an advantage of about 68,000 votes.
The vast majority of the ballots yet to be counted are from Maricopa County, the most populous area of the state.
This item has been corrected to show that 450,000 ballots, not 375,000 ballots, still need to be counted.
With Joe Biden edging closer to unseating him from the White House, President Donald Trump says he wants to put a halt to vote counting.
The extraordinary statement by an incumbent president to voice support for ceasing the count of legally cast votes came in a Thursday morning tweet, saying only: “STOP THE COUNT!”
Elections are run by individual state, county and local governments. Trump’s public comments have no impact on the tallying of votes across the country.
So far, the vote count across the country has been conducted efficiently and without evidence of any misconduct, despite Trump’s public complaints.
Trump’s comments come as his campaign has filed legal action in several states to try to stop vote counting, claiming a lack of transparency. Still, Trump’s campaign has held out hope that continued counting in Arizona could overcome a Biden lead in the state.
Find AP’s full election coverage at APNews.com/Election2020.