November 29, 2020

Trump: We’ll send in lawyers if Pennsylvania election is unfair. But votes are regularly counted after Election Day

President Donald Trump said Sunday he would likely take legal action if he believes Tuesday’s election is conducted unfairly, especially in Pennsylvania.

“As soon as that election’s over, we’re going in with our lawyers,” Trump told reporters just before holding a rally in Hickory, N.C.

Trump did deny a report in Axios that he planned to declare victory if he is ahead in Pennsylvania and enough other states on Election Day, even if the counting of mail-in ballots is ongoing.

But he also said it would be unfair for Pennsylvania and other states to count ballots after Tuesday, as they plan to do. At least five counties in Pennsylvania have already announced they will not be counting absentee and mail-in ballots until the day after Election Day.

“I don’t think it’s fair that we have to wait for a long period of time after the election,” Trump said, and it would be “terrible thing.”

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said on Twitter that “our elections are over when all the votes are counted.”

Citing previous legal victories over the Republicans, Shapiro tweeted at Trump: “But if your lawyers want to try us, we’d be happy to defeat you in court one more time.”

Some ballots regularly aren’t counted until after Election Day

States never count all the votes by Election Day, especially absentee and military ballots. This year, given the emphasis on mail-in voting because of the COVID-19 pandemic, some states have said they will accept ballots for days after Election Day. North Carolina, one of the states where Trump spoke Sunday, has said it can count ballots received as late as Nov. 12.

Pennsylvania and Wisconsin don’t begin processing absentee ballots until Election Day. Michigan provides only a one-day head start. The Republican-controlled legislatures in these states opted not to change their laws to allow pre-election processing despite pressure from local election officials.

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