IU political experts weigh in on election lawsuits

IU political experts weigh in on election lawsuits
The margins are narrowing, but President Donald Trump continues suing to stop the count in states where he’s ahead, while questioning legal votes in states where he’s behind. (Photo: John P. Wise) (Source: John P. Wise)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The margins are narrowing, but President Donald Trump continues suing to stop the count in states where he’s ahead, while questioning legal votes in states where he’s behind.

A panel of Indiana University political experts weighed in Friday on whether the lawsuits will hold up.

The short answer was no. The lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign bring into question small details of how a particular state is counting votes. Trump has made many claims of fraud without evidence.

“It’s all part of the playbook, throwing things at the wall trying to see what sticks,” said Jakobi Williams, Associate Professor of African American and African Diaspora Studies and History at IU.

There have been at least 10 suits filed so far; two have been dismissed, one was settled and another was withdrawn.

Jumping in on Sharpie-Gate in Arizona, making legal challenges on absentee ballots, and more access for campaign observers to ballot counting, in Michigan, Georgia, Nevada and most heavily in Pennsylvania, where the U.S. Supreme Court voted in October to allow a three-day extension on mail-in ballots postmarked Nov. 3.

“The thing to keep in mind is that the number of ballots (we’re) talking about is very small and we don’t know exactly how many, but we’re not talking about tens of thousands of ballots, so it’s probable that this is not going to matter for the election,” said Gerard Magliocca, Professor of Law in the McKinney School of Law at IUPUI.

It’s unknown whether the Supreme Court actually will hear this challenge, but protests have erupted across the country regardless.

“This notion of fraud is largely people looking for a problem that doesn’t exist,” said Steven Webster, assistant professor of political science at IU. “By and large, political scientists agree that fraud in terms of mailing ballots is not a real concern.”

Whether it’s a call to stop the count or keep counting ... “it’s way too early for any legal challenge to get anywhere, even if you thought there was something to challenge,” Magliocca said.

In order to challenge the results, they need to be certified, and then there needs to be a recount.

“In 2000, there was only one state and we all knew that whoever won that state would win the election,” Magliocca said. “In this case, probably it’s going to have to be more than one state that would have to be changed in its result to change the outcome of the election. That’s pretty hard.”

The Trump campaign already has called for a recount in Wisconsin, and Friday, Georgia officials announced a recount is likely there as well.

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