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Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Trump says election being ‘stolen from him’. What are his allegations?

Trump's claims revolve around three themes -- the process of casting and accepting mail-in ballots, pre-election polls 'deliberately favouring Biden to discourage Republican voters', and his election observers not being allowed to do their jobs in Democrat-run states.

Written by Atikh Rashid , Edited by Explained Desk | Updated: November 9, 2020 8:32:02 am
Roland Torres, a supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump, chants during a "Stop The Steal" protest at the Clark County Election Center in North Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. November 6, 2020. (Photo: REUTERS/Steve Marcus)

As the Democratic candidate Joe Biden inches closer to becoming the 46th President of the United States, incumbent Donald Trump has alleged that the Democrats are “stealing” the election from him, which he was “easily winning”.

The allegations that Trump has made against Democrats are largely of “large-scale election fraud”, “illegal vote-counting” and “voter suppression”. In some cases, where specific allegations have been made, no evidence has been provided by Trump or his campaign.

When Trump, his campaign or a section of the Republican party made these allegations, several American media organisations and social media platforms have chosen to censor or flag them over the absence of evidence. Even within the Republican Party and larger conservative establishment, Trump’s allegations of “voter fraud” have found no unanimous support.

While Trump has been raising the issue of mail-in ballots for several months now, it was largely seen by his opponent as an effort to “suppress democratic votes” as those in support of the liberal party were seen to be largely in favour of casting votes from home owing to the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, the Democratic Party had campaigned heavily asking its supporters to prefer the mail-in method over other means to cast votes, wherever possible.

Although the Republican Party has started litigation in some cases, in most of the allegations voiced by Trump and his supporters – especially that may have bearing on the national results – it’s not clear if they would approach courts.

Here is a summary of major allegations levelled by President Trump and his campaign since the election night.

Mail-in ballots

Trump and his campaign have accused the election apparatus in states run by the Democratic party of accepting the ballots after the election day (which is legally permitted in some states), sending out millions of unsolicited mail-in ballots, and being lax in verifying signatures and eligibility of voters sending mail-in ballots among others.

The Trump campaign has filed lawsuits in three states, namely Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania, demanding the counting of votes be stopped alleging that mail-in ballots were improperly harvested, reported Guardian. In Wisconsin, which Biden has won after initially trailing, the Trump campaign has sought a recount.
“If you count the legal votes. I easily win. If you count illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us,” Trump said in his press conference held Thursday night (Friday morning in India).

Explained | What might happen if the US election 2020 results are disputed?

Talking about how the fate of the election changed after mail-in ballots started to be counted by election officials in several swing states, Trump said, “We were winning in all the key locations by a lot and then our numbers started miraculously whittled away… We were up by 700,000 votes in Pennsylvania, that got whittled down…We were way up in Michigan and likewise in Wisconsin, we were doing fantastically well. They find out how many votes they need and they seem to find them. They wait and wait and then they find them. In North Carolina we were ahead by a lot we are still ahead but not by a lot. It’s amazing how these mail-in ballots are so one sided.”

Trump alleged that in Georgia, the mail-in ballots should have been received by election day to be legal, but the election apparatus accepted them later too.

“Democrat officials never believed they could win this election honestly, I really believe that, that is why they did (rely on) mail-in ballots where there’s tremendous corruption and fraud going on. That’s why they mailed out tens of millions of unsolicited ballots without any verification measures whatsoever. They refused to include any requirement for signature verification, identities and even determine whether they are eligible or ineligible to vote. You don’t have post-marks, you don’t have identification. There have been disturbing irregularities across the nation,” alleged Trump on Thursday as several news outlets chose to cut away the live feed. 📣 Express Explained is now on Telegram

These claims by Trump were denounced as baseless by several political leaders, including former Republican senator Rick Santorum who said such loose talk of election thievery was dangerous.

‘Blocking of Republican Observers’

Another major accusation levelled by the Trump campaign is that the Republican election observers – legally allowed to observe the counting process – were being kept away or hindered from doing their duties in states ruled by the Democrats. Such allegations have been made in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Michigan. In the former, the Trump campaign approached the court which allowed the observers to stand six feet away from the counting table than at a distance of 20 feet as previously allowed.

“They wouldn’t allow legally permissible observers. We went to court in a couple of instances and then we were able to put in observers and when the observers got in they were put in 60-70 feet away, a 100 feet away or outside the building to observe the inside of the building.

In Philadelphia, he said, the election observers were kept so far that they “had to use binoculars”.

“In Pennsylvania, the Democrats have gone to the Supreme Court in order to ban our observers. They don’t want anybody to watch the ballots. They are trying obviously to commit fraud. In Philadelphia, observers have been kept far away, so far away that people are using binoculars to try and see. They put papers on all of the windows so that you can’t’ see. People who have been banned are very unhappy and became somewhat violent,” Trump alleged.

“Our election observers have been denied access to counting in Detroit. One major hub of counting covered up the windows with large pieces of cardboards. Poll workers in Michigan were duplicating ballots but when our observers attempted to challenge the activities those poll workers jumped in front of the volunteers to block the view. Observers were also denied access in several critical places in Georgia,” he said.

Democrats and state administration have denied these allegations. They have clarified that in thDetroit counting centre, cardboards were kept on the windows to partially cover them as election workers had complained that they felt intimidated by protesters outside. In Pennsylvania, they said, the issue did not pertain to admission to the poll watchers but that they – both Republican and Democrats – were kept at a distance from the tables.

‘Polls predicting a blue wave to suppress voters’

Trump has said that the Democratic party had colluded with “big media, big money and big tech” to “steal” the election from him although he had won it “by historic numbers”.

One of the ways used, he alleged, was pre-election polls predicting a Democratic sweep of the election, thus discouraging the Republican voters to come out and vote.

“Pollsters got it knowingly wrong. We had polls that were so ridiculous and everybody knew that there was no blue wave that they had predicted. They said there would be a big blue-wave….That was done for suppression reasons. As everybody now recognises, media polling was election interference. In the truest sense of the word. By powerful special interest. These phoney, fake polls were designed to keep our voters at home, create the illusion of momentum for Mr Biden and diminish Republican’s ability to raise funds,” alleged Trump.

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