Individuals in america awoke on Wednesday with out a clear winner of the nation’s presidential elections, as hundreds of thousands of ballots are nonetheless being counted in essential battleground states that may in the end determine the victor.
That didn’t cease Donald Trump from sowing doubt across the electoral course of, nevertheless, because the US president falsely declared that delays in declaring a winner are proof of wide-scale voter fraud.
Authorized and elections consultants within the US say that there isn’t a proof to again up Trump’s claims – and taking time to ensure each vote is counted by no means alerts that one thing improper is underneath method.
“Counting ballots will not be fraud. That’s what we do in elections – we depend ballots,” stated Lonna Atkeson, director of the College of New Mexico’s Middle for the Examine of Voting, Elections and Democracy.
Atkeson informed Al Jazeera in a telephone interview on Wednesday that folks should be affected person and respect the method, which is “gradual and laboured”.
With record-high early voter turnout propelled partly by the COVID-19 pandemic, election officers continued to tally the votes previous Election Day in a number of states which can be essential to each Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden’s possibilities of profitable the presidency.
They embrace Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan, the place each candidates had held a number of marketing campaign occasions within the lead-up to Tuesday to shore up help.
The Trump marketing campaign on Wednesday filed a lawsuit to cease the depend in Michigan, demanding “significant entry to quite a few counting places” to watch the method and a evaluation of ballots that had already been counted.
Talking earlier than the lawsuit was introduced, Atkeson stated stopping a depend could be tough.
“You’ve received to have some motive to cease the counting. You possibly can’t simply cease the counting and go searching and see if the procedures are going proper,” she stated. “That’s why you could have ballot challengers throughout the nation and authorized groups arrange already.”
‘Zero proof in any way’
Michael Gilbert, a professor of legislation on the College of Virginia, identified that Trump’s current feedback on the integrity of the voting system aren’t new.
The president made allegations of voter fraud after the 2016 elections, saying with out proof that three million votes had been forged illegally. “There’s by no means been any proof to help these claims,” Gilbert informed Al Jazeera.
However this 12 months, a mixture of particular circumstances has fuelled the Republican chief’s unproven claims, such because the COVID-19 pandemic and an abundance of mail-in votes that had been forged earlier than Election Day.
Having so many mail-in ballots means the depend will take longer than common, and “the time has the potential anyway to boost doubts in peoples’ minds in regards to the integrity of what’s taking place”, Gilbert stated.
That doubt might improve additional as mail-in ballots, that are extra extensively utilized by Democratic Get together voters in contrast with their Republican counterparts, are counted as a result of leads in key states might probably flip from Trump to Biden.
“There isn’t any motive I’ve seen wherever to consider that there’s an issue right here,” Gilbert stated. “It’s simply vote-counting takes time, they usually’re counting the votes. I see no proof of fraud. I see zero proof in any way of an election being stolen.”
That was echoed by James Gardner, a legislation professor on the State College of New York at Buffalo, who stated there’s “no voter fraud value even contemplating” within the US.
“Since you possibly can’t say in as we speak’s world, ‘We are attempting to rig the election in our personal favour’, you need to say one thing else – and what they’ve been saying is we’re attempting to regulate voter fraud, and that’s only a full fabrication,” Gardner informed Al Jazeera.
It is simply vote-counting takes time, they usually’re counting the votes. I see no proof of fraud. I see zero proof in any way of an election being stolen
A report final 12 months by the Brennan Middle for Justice, a nonpartisan institute affiliated with New York College’s College of Regulation, stated allegations of voter fraud are largely unfounded and used to justify measures that disenfranchise voters.
“It’s extra doubtless that a person will likely be struck by lightning than that he’ll impersonate one other voter on the polls,” the report stated.
Gardner stated that each US state has well-established authorized procedures in place to find out outcomes when elections are shut.
They embrace a recount – which Gardner stated nearly by no means modifications the preliminary tabulation – and what’s known as an election contest, a continuing usually initiated in courtroom during which a candidate, political occasion or voter can declare the official depend is wrong as a consequence of an irregularity.
None of that is uncommon, Gardner defined – and actually, it occurs continuously.
“I feel what individuals are extra apprehensive about proper now’s the individuals who will likely be administering and making these choices – particularly the judges,” he stated.
“The Republicans have been working for many years to stack the judiciary, each state and federal, with loyalists. And it may possibly’t be taken as a right as we speak, as I feel it may have been up to now, that the judges presiding over these proceedings will likely be neutral – or a minimum of that’s the concern.”