Election Law

Summary Of Donald Trump’s Lawsuits In Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia, And Supreme Court Motion

Two days after the 2020 Election there is still no announced winner of the presidency. As ballots continue to be counted, the Trump Campaign has become involved in litigation in three states (Michigan, Georgia and Pennsylvania) and asked to be joined to a pending U.S. Supreme Court lawsuit that concerns mail-in ballots.

Trump’s Lawsuit in Michigan

Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., and Eric Ostergren v. Jocelyn Benson, in her official capacity as Secretary of State, Case No. 20-000225-MZ.

See: Verified Complaint for Immediate Declaratory and Injunctive Relief.

The suit revolves around MCL 168.765a(10) which states, in part, “At all times, at least 1 election inspector from each major political party must be present at the absent voter counting place and the policies and procedures adopted by the secretary of state regarding the counting of absent voter ballots must be followed.”

The plaintiffs claim that the statute is being violated because absent voter counting boards are being conducted without inspectors from each party being present, that local election jurisdictions in Michigan have located ballot drop-off boxes without an opportunity for challengers to observe the process (in violation of MCL 168.730), and that absent voter ballots are being processed and counted without allowing challengers to observe the video of the ballot boxes into which the ballots are being placed.

They are asking for declaratory and injunctive relief requiring Michigan Secretary of State Benson to direct that election authorities comply with Michigan law mandating election inspectors from each political party and allowing challengers access to video of ballot boxes before the counting of relevant votes takes place.

Trump’s Lawsuit in Pennsylvania

In re: Canvassing Observation, Case No. 1094 CD 2020.

See: Notice of Appeal.

This appeal seeks to overturn an Order issued on November 3 (Election Night), denying Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.’s motion to allow closer observation of the canvassing of ballots. The original Order stated, in part, “Given that observers are directed only to observe and not to audit ballots, we conclude, based on the witness’s testimony, that the Board of Elections has complied with the observation requirements under 25 P.S. 3146.8.”

Trump’s Lawsuit in Georgia

In re: Enforcement of Election Laws and Securing Ballots Cast or Received After 7:00 P.M. on November 3, 2020, Case No. SPCV20-00982.

See: Petition to Command Enforcement of Election Laws Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 21-2-412.

This petition brought by Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. and the Georgia Republican Party, Inc. asks for the Chatham County Board of Elections (CCBE) to be required to collect, secure, and safely store all absentee ballots received after 7:00 p.m. on Election Day and to provide an accounting of all such absentee ballots to the petitioners, and then await further instruction from the court as to their final disposition.

The petitioners attached a declaration of a poll watcher named Sean Pumphrey who says that he witnessed absentee ballots that had not been properly processed “apparently mixed into a pile of absentee ballots that was already set to be tabulated.” They say that the proper chain of custody for the ballots was not followed and that, “Despite attempts by the poll watcher to obtain information from the CCBE regarding the source of the absentee ballots in mixed into other, already-processed absentee ballots being tabulated in Chatham County, no information to confirm the source of such absentee ballots was provided to the poll watcher.”

Trump’s Supreme Court Efforts

Republican Party of Pennsylvania v. Boockvar et al., Case No. 20-542.

See: Motion of Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. for Leave to Intervene as Petitioner.

In this motion, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. seeks to be added to the existing lawsuit that was initiated by Pennsylvania’s Republican Party based on a claim that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court improperly granted a three-day extension for receiving mail-in ballots.

“The public interest in ensuring that a State like Pennsylvania conducts its federal elections in accord with federal law is extremely strong,” states the campaign’s motion. “A state court’s commandeering of ‘the legislative scheme for appointing Presidential electors’—as happened here—“presents a federal constitutional question” of nationwide significance.