People within the United States wakened on Wednesday with out a clear winner of the nation’s presidential elections, as hundreds of thousands of ballots are nonetheless being counted in crucial battleground states that can finally determine the victor.
That didn’t cease Donald Trump from sowing doubt across the electoral course of, nonetheless, because the US president falsely declared that delays in declaring a winner are proof of wide-scale voter fraud.
Legal and elections specialists 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 on no account indicators that one thing improper is below manner.
“Counting ballots is not fraud. That’s what we do in elections – we count ballots,” mentioned Lonna Atkeson, director of the University of New Mexico’s Center for the Study of Voting, Elections and Democracy.
Atkeson instructed Al Jazeera in a telephone interview on Wednesday that individuals have to be affected person and respect the method, which is “slow 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 might be crucial 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 assist.
The Trump marketing campaign on Wednesday filed a lawsuit to cease the depend in Michigan, demanding “meaningful access to numerous counting locations” to watch the method and a overview of ballots that had already been counted.
Speaking earlier than the lawsuit was introduced, Atkeson mentioned stopping a depend could be tough.
“You’ve got to have some reason to stop the counting. You can’t just stop the counting and look around and see if the procedures are going right,” she mentioned. “That’s why you have poll challengers across the country and legal teams set up already.”
‘Zero evidence whatsoever’
Michael Gilbert, a professor of regulation on the University of Virginia, identified that Trump’s current feedback on the integrity of the voting system will not be new.
The president made allegations of voter fraud after the 2016 elections, saying with out proof that three million votes have been solid illegally. “There’s never been any evidence to support these claims,” Gilbert instructed Al Jazeera.
But this 12 months, a mix 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 have been solid earlier than Election Day.
Having so many mail-in ballots means the depend will take longer than normal, and “the time has the potential anyway to raise doubts in peoples’ minds about the integrity of what’s happening”, Gilbert mentioned.
That doubt might enhance additional as mail-in ballots, that are extra broadly utilized by Democratic Party voters in contrast with their Republican counterparts, are counted as a result of leads in key states might doubtlessly flip from Trump to Biden.
“There is no reason I have seen anywhere to believe that there’s a problem here,” Gilbert mentioned. “It’s just vote-counting takes time, and they’re counting the votes. I see no evidence of fraud. I see zero evidence whatsoever of an election being stolen.”
That was echoed by James Gardner, a regulation professor on the State University of New York at Buffalo, who mentioned there may be “no voter fraud worth even considering” within the US.
“Since you can’t say in today’s world, ‘We are trying to rig the election in our own favour’, you have to say something else – and what they have been saying is we’re trying to control voter fraud, and that is just a complete fabrication,” Gardner instructed Al Jazeera.
It’s simply vote-counting takes time, they usually’re counting the votes. I see no proof of fraud. I see zero proof in anyway of an election being stolen
A report final 12 months by the Brennan Center for Justice, a nonpartisan institute affiliated with New York University’s School of Law, mentioned allegations of voter fraud are largely unfounded and used to justify measures that disenfranchise voters.
“It is more likely that an individual will be struck by lightning than that he will impersonate another voter at the polls,” the report mentioned.
Gardner mentioned 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 mentioned virtually by no means modifications the preliminary tabulation – and what’s referred to as an election contest, a continuing usually initiated in court docket by which a candidate, political occasion or voter can declare the official depend is wrong on account of an irregularity.
None of that is uncommon, Gardner defined – and in reality, it occurs incessantly.
“I think what people are more worried about right now is the people who will be administering and making these decisions – namely the judges,” he mentioned.
“The Republicans have been working for decades to stack the judiciary, both state and federal, with loyalists. And it can’t be taken for granted today, as I think it could have been in the past, that the judges presiding over these proceedings will be impartial – or at least that’s the fear.”