PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — In a press conference early Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump falsely declared victory in several battleground states and called on the Supreme Court to stop legal mail-in ballots from being counted.
The Associated Press has not declared a winner in Pennsylvania and other battleground states, which will continue counting ballots over the next several days.
.@norahodonnell says President Trump is “castrating the facts” after he delivered a White House address with several false claims about the incomplete election results.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) November 4, 2020
Trump appeared before supporters at the White House early Wednesday morning and cried foul over the election results, calling the process “a major fraud on our nation.” But there’s no evidence of foul play in the cliffhanger.
Trump says: “We’ll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court — we want all voting to stop.” In fact, there is no more voting — just counting.
Meanwhile, Joe Biden said earlier Wednesday that he believes he is “on track to win this election.”
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf refuted Trump’s lies, saying “Pennsylvania will have a fair election and we will count every vote.”
Let’s be clear: This is a partisan attack on Pennsylvania’s elections, our votes, and democracy.
Our counties are working tirelessly to process votes as quickly AND as accurately as possible.
Pennsylvania will have a fair election and we will count every vote.
— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) November 4, 2020
Just days before the election, President Trump signaled his reelection campaign will pursue an aggressive legal strategy to try to prevent Pennsylvania from counting mailed ballots that are received in the three days after the election. The matter could find its way to the Supreme Court, especially if those ballots could tip the outcome in the battleground state.
The three-day extension was ordered by Pennsylvania’s top court. The Supreme Court refused to block it, but several conservative justices have indicated they could revisit the issue after the election.
Trump said the high court’s pre-election refusal to rule out the extension was a “terrible decision.” He also said that once the polls close Tuesday, “we’re going in with our lawyers.”
Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, a Democrat, already has told local elections officials to keep the late-arriving ballots separate, but also to count them. She acknowledged that a post-election court fight could change that.
As Election Day neared, experts have repeatedly warned Pennsylvania was very unlikely to be called one way or the other Tuesday night.
“We’re going to have to wait a day or two or maybe even three days to count most of the mail-in ballots. If it all comes down to Pennsylvania, all eyes will be on us. We’re going to have to be patient and allow our local officials to count these ballots,” Committee of Seventy policy director Patrick Christmas said.
Election officials in the Philadelphia suburbs echoed the same thought as hundreds of thousands of mail-in and absentee ballots are being processed.
The legal issue is whether the extension ordered by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, relying on voter protections in the Pennsylvania constitution, violated the U.S. Constitution. The argument advanced by Republicans is that the Constitution gives state legislatures — not state courts — the power to decide how electoral votes are awarded, including whether absentee ballots received after Election Day can be counted.
Roughly 20 states allow for late-arriving ballots, but Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled legislature did not authorize an extension, even with the huge increase in mailed ballots because of the coronavirus pandemic. Similar ballot-deadline extensions have resulted in court fights in Minnesota and North Carolina.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)