The Trump campaign has filed a lawsuit in Georgia asking a state court to “order a new election to be conducted in the presidential race,” citing “tens of thousands of illegal votes” in a statement to the press on Friday.
“What was filed today clearly documents that there are literally tens of thousands of illegal votes that were cast, counted, and included in the tabulations the Secretary of State is preparing to certify,” Ray S. Smith III, lead counsel for the Trump campaign, said in the statement. “The Secretary of State has orchestrated the worst excuse for an election in Georgia history,” he added.
Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger, a Republican and Trump supporter, has repeatedly reinforced that the election results are valid. There has been no evidence yet of widespread voter fraud in the state.
Mr Raffensperger said on Tuesday the latest recounts showed “no substantial changes" so far.
“As many of us have said, we wish that our guy would have won the election,” he said previously. “But it doesn’t look like our guy has won the election."
The Trump campaign says the suit includes dozens of sworn affidavits from “Georgia residents” alleging irregularities like process breakdowns, “mysterious ‘pristine’ absentee ballots” for Joe Biden, and trouble with allowing poll watchers to oversee the count.
It also includes sworn testimony from data experts on tens of thousands of alleged “illegal votes."
— Brendan Keefe (@BrendanKeefe) December 4, 2020
The campaign has been mounting numerous, largely unsuccessful lawsuits with thin claims around the country challenging the results, but this latest move marks a dramatic escalation.
It seeks an entirely new election in the state, or alternatively, for the court to block further certification of the results and allow Georgia’s Republican legislature to decide on the electors who formally cast the 538 votes for president in the Electoral College.
While the US Constitution technically says state legislatures decide the “manner” in which these electors are appointed, laws in every state appoint electors representing the candidate who won the state popular vote.
The dramatic legal move comes just as the state seemed poised to confirm for a third time that the president lost to Joe Biden, following a second recount of the original results that the Trump campaign had requested, which is likely to wrap up in a matter of hours or days. According to the latest tally, Mr Biden likely bested his GOP opponent by more than 10,000 votes.
The president, as well as the state’s two US senate incumbents, Republicans Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, who are both facing runoffs for their seats after close general elections, have repeatedly pilloried Georgia’s elections results.
The steady stream of conspiracy theories and attacks around the contest have had ripples across the state. It has created a crisis for Republicans hoping to win in the runoffs, as many in the GOP base now think their vote won’t matter due to all the alleged malfeasance. It has also led death threats against state election officials.
"Someone's going to get hurt, someone's going to get shot, someone's going to get killed," Gabriel Sterling, with the secretary of state's office, said on Tuesday. "It's not right."