Washington (AP): Getting nowhere in the courts, President Donald Trump’s scattershot effort to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory is shifting toward obscure election boards that certify the vote as Trump and his allies seek to upend the electoral process, sow chaos and perpetuate unsubstantiated doubts about the count.
The battle is centred in the battleground states that sealed Biden’s win.
In Michigan, two Republican election officials in the state’s largest county initially refused to certify results despite no evidence of fraud. In Arizona, officials are balking at signing off on vote tallies in a rural county.
The moves don’t reflect a co-ordinated effort across the battleground states that broke for Biden, local election officials said. Instead, they seem to be inspired by Trump’s incendiary rhetoric about baseless fraud and driven by Republican acquiescence to broadsides against the nation’s electoral system as state and federal courts push aside legal challenges filed by Trump and his allies.
Still, what happened in Wayne County, Michigan, on Tuesday was a jarring reminder of the disruptions that can still be caused as the nation works through the process of affirming the outcome of the Nov. 3 election.
There is no precedent for the Trump team’s widespread effort to delay or undermine certification, according to University of Kentucky law professor Joshua Douglas.
“It would be the end of democracy as we know it,’’ Douglas said. “This is just not a thing that can happen.’’
Certifying results is a routine yet important step after local election officials have tallied votes, reviewed procedures, checked to ensure votes were counted correctly and investigated discrepancies. Typically, this certification is done by a local board of elections and then, later, the results are certified at the state level.
But as Trump has refused to concede to Biden and continues to spread false claims of victory, this mundane process is taking on new significance.
By Zeke Miller, Christina A. Cassidy and Colleen Long