The Trump campaign has filed more than a dozen lawsuits across five states over the 2020 election. But if he wants to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s projected victory, President Donald Trump’s path runs through Pennsylvania.
Trump would need to somehow dispute his Democratic rival’s 45,000-vote lead in the state and win Arizona, Georgia, and Alaska.
But even Trump’s lawsuits don’t offer the path to victory. In an 85-page complaint filed in a federal court in Pennsylvania on Monday, the campaign identified only about 14,000 votes it disputes.
To be sure, the campaign alleges many other irregularities with the election in Pennsylvania. It says its poll and election watchers didn’t get the oversight to which they were entitled. It says ballots sent by mail were counted through a different process than ballots cast in person in a way that’s unfair. It says voter rolls are outdated. And on the basis of all these things, it says that the entire state’s votes should not be certified.
But when it comes to specific real-life examples of votes that were incorrectly cast, counted, or left uncounted, the Trump campaign comes up with just a few examples.
The bulk of the votes it is challenging are 14,000 cast in Delaware County, where Biden leads by 85,000 votes, according to Decision Desk HQ data published by Insider.
Delaware County reported receiving 113,000 mail-in ballots on November 4, the day after Election Day, and later revised that number to 127,000. The Trump campaign said it “received no explanation” for where those additional 14,000 ballots came from. A representative for the Delaware County board of elections didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
The lawsuit also alleges 14 other ballots are problematic:
- Two voters in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, said they received mail-in ballots that were already filled out. Fayette County District Attorney Rich Bower said in October, in a local news article cited by the lawsuit, that he was addressing the incident.
- Nine military ballots in unmarked envelopes were found in a trash bin. Federal prosecutors said in September that they were investigating the incident. It’s not clear if the votes were cast in the Pennsylvania primary or general election.
- Two voters were permitted to vote in person even though poll workers recorded them as having already voted by mail, the lawsuit alleges. The Trump campaign did not cite any source for this claim, and the lawyers who filed the lawsuit didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for more information.
- One voter was denied a provisional ballot after messing up the procedure for sending a mail ballot, according to the lawsuit. The Trump campaign didn’t cite a source for the claim or name the person who was denied a vote, and the lawyers who filed the lawsuit didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for more information.
The total number of ballots the Trump campaign is challenging falls well short of Biden’s projected margin of victory.
Voter fraud is extremely rare in the US. The conservative-leaning Heritage Foundation found in a recent analysis that only about six out of every 10 million votes cast result in a criminal conviction. In arguing its case, the Trump campaign identified only three cases of voter fraud in Pennsylvania since 1999.
The Trump campaign is also attempting to join a Supreme Court case in which the Pennsylvania state Republican Party seeks to disqualify ballots that were sent in the mail by Election Day on November 3 but arrived at ballot-processing centers later.
State officials have identified only 7,800 such ballots, Jacklin Rhoads, a spokeswoman for Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, told Bloomberg.
Even if Trump were to be completely victorious in both lawsuits, and every single one of those votes were for Biden, he still would not win Pennsylvania.