Trump campaign loses lawsuit seeking to halt Michigan vote count

Votes continue to be counted at the TCF Center the day after the 2020 U.S. presidential election, in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., November 4, 2020. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

By Jan Wolfe

(Reuters) – A judge in Michigan on Thursday tossed out a lawsuit brought by U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign in hopes of halting vote-counting in the battleground state.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is the projected winner in Michigan, which Trump, a Republican, carried in 2016.

Michigan Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens made the ruling during a court hearing on Thursday. She said she planned to issue a written ruling on Friday.

Campaign officials for Trump have said they filed the suit to stop the counting in Michigan and gain greater access to the tabulation process. A Trump campaign spokeswoman did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The lawsuit was a “messaging exercise,” said Bob Bauer, senior adviser on Biden’s campaign.

“It has no other purpose than to confuse the public about what’s taking place and to support their baseless claims of irregularity,” Bauer said in a call with reporters.

Nationally, Biden inched closer to victory on Thursday in an exceedingly close U.S. election hinging on razor-thin margins in a handful of states.

Trump has launched a flurry of lawsuits across the country.

In another setback for Trump on Thursday, a judge in Georgia denied a request by his campaign for an order requiring Chatham County to separate and secure late-arriving ballots to ensure they are not counted.

In Michigan, Trump campaign lawyers had requested an order directing Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to require “meaningful access” for campaign poll watchers to the counting of ballots, plus access to surveillance videotapes of ballot drop boxes.

Judge Stephens said it was local election officials who were for the most part able to deliver the relief requested by the campaign.

“The relief that is being requested is in substantial part unavailable through the Secretary of State,” Stephens said.

Regarding the request for access to videotapes, there was “no basis to find that there is a substantial likelihood of success on the merits,” the judge added.

(Reporting by Jan Wolfe and Karen Freifeld, Editing by Franklin Paul, Diane Craft, Sonya Hepinstall and Cynthia Osterman)

Leave a Reply