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Trump campaign files lawsuit to stop vote counting in Michigan


Campaign seeks access to numerous counting locations

Elaine Cromie/Getty Images

President Donald Trump's campaign says it has filed a lawsuit in the Michigan Court of Claims seeking a court order to halt the counting of ballots until it is given "meaningful access to numerous counting locations to observe the opening of ballots and the counting process."

In a statement published Wednesday, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien claimed the campaign "has not been provided with meaningful access to numerous counting locations to observe the opening of ballots and the counting process, as guaranteed by Michigan law."

"We have filed suit today in the Michigan Court of Claims to halt counting until meaningful access has been granted," Stepien said. "We also demand to review those ballots which were opened and counted while we did not have meaningful access."

The Associated Press reported that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden currently leads Trump in Michigan by 45,000 votes. Outstanding absentee and mail-in ballots are still being counted in the state.

If ballot counting continues, Michigan election officials expect to announce a winner later Wednesday, after the remainder of roughly 100,000 outstanding ballots are counted. Michigan state law prevents election officials from counting mail-in ballots until the morning of the election. A massive surge in absentee voting likely caused by concerns over the coronavirus pandemic created delays in ballot counting, which state officials expected.

The presidential contest between Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden still has no declared winner. Several states remain too close to call, depriving either candidate of the 270 votes needed to claim the presidency. Michigan's 16 Electoral College votes remain up for grabs, though Biden is expected to maintain his lead given that outstanding ballots are coming in from parts of the state with many Democratic voters.

President Trump won Michigan in 2016, becoming the first Republican candidate to do so since George H.W. Bush in 1988.

In neighboring Wisconsin, Biden was declared the victor Wednesday, claiming the state's 10 Electoral College votes and delivering a blow to Trump, who won there in 2016. Biden's narrow lead, less than one point, gives the Trump campaign the legal right to request a recount, an opportunity that the campaign said Wednesday they will take.

"Despite ridiculous public polling used as a voter suppression tactic, Wisconsin has been a razor thin race as we always knew that it would be," Stepien said in a statement. "There have been reports of irregularities in several Wisconsin counties which raise serious doubts about the validity of the results. The President is well within the threshold to request a recount and we will immediately do so."

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