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Donald Trump Election 2020

President Donald Trump talks to members of the media outside of the White House on October 27, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

"I Don't Believe That's By Our Laws," Trump Says of Counting All the Votes in an Election

"He wants to throw out legal votes. That's what he's saying here."

Jake Johnson

Repeating his desire for a winner to be declared on the night of November 3, President Donald Trump told reporters Tuesday that he doesn't "believe" tallying votes for weeks after Election Day is lawful, a remark observers interpreted as yet another open signal of the president's intention to challenge the counting of legally submitted ballots.

"Donald Trump is planning to everything he can to make sure your vote doesn't count."
—Indivisible

"It would be very, very proper and very nice if a winner were declared on November 3, instead of counting ballots for two weeks, which is totally inappropriate, and I don't believe that that's by our laws," Trump said before departing the White House for a campaign rally in Lansing, Michigan. "I don't believe that. So we'll see what happens."

It is, in fact, perfectly legal for states to count ballots for weeks after the election; some states allow mail-in ballots to arrive up to two weeks after November 3 as long as they are postmarked by Election Day. Due to the unprecedented surge in mail-in voting sparked by the pandemic, the process of tallying ballots and determining the election winner is expected to take longer than usual.

"He wants to throw out legal votes. That's what he's saying here," tweeted Garance Franke-Ruta, executive editor of GEN magazine.

Watch Trump's comments:

Progressive critics and election analysts have long been warning of a "nightmare scenario" in which Trump falsely declares himself the winner on November 3 based on an early lead in in-person votes and proceeds to declare all votes counted after Election Day illegitimate. The president's comments Tuesday bolstered those fears.

"Donald Trump is planning to everything he can to make sure your vote doesn't count," progressive advocacy group Indivisible—part of a coalition planning mass protests should Trump attempt to steal the election—said in response to the president's remarks Tuesday, which came hours after the conservative-dominated U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the battleground state of Wisconsin cannot extend its Election Day deadline for the arrival of mail-in ballots.

In his concurring opinion in the case, Trump-nominated Justice Brett Kavanaugh parroted the president's attack on the common state practice of counting ballots that arrive after Election Day—a possible indication that Kavanaugh is, as Slate's Mark Joseph Stern put it, "open to stealing the election for Trump."

The implications of Kavanaugh's reason could reach beyond Wisconsin. As Stern pointed out on Twitter, North Carolina Republicans are already citing Kavanaugh's argument to justify their own push for the Supreme Court to limit the state's absentee ballot deadline.

"Brett Kavanaugh's stunning opinion last night should be a huge story today," said Stern. "It cast aspersions on mail ballots. It's riddled with errors. It endorses a theory too radical for the Bush v. Gore majority. It's a preemptive attack on our election's integrity.


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'Intentional Vandalism' Leaves Thousands Without Power in North Carolina

One right-wing extremist implied that multiple electrical substations were targeted to disrupt a drag show in Moore County. Local law enforcement authorities and the FBI are investigating.

Kenny Stancil ·


GOP Silence on Trump's Call to Axe Constitution Reveals 'Full Embrace of Fascism': House Dem

"Last week the leader of the Republican Party had dinner with a Nazi leader and a man who called Adolf Hitler 'great,'" said Rep. Bill Pascrell. "Yesterday Trump called for throwing out the Constitution and making himself dictator."

Kenny Stancil ·


Protesting Fuel Poverty, People Tell UK Government to 'Keep Everyone Warm This Winter'

As energy bills—and fossil fuel profits—continue to soar, demonstrators around Britain demanded immediate action from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and members of Parliament.

Kenny Stancil ·


'Turn Off the Tap on Plastic,' UN Chief Declares Amid Debate Over New Global Treaty

"Plastics are fossil fuels in another form," said U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, "and pose a serious threat to human rights, the climate, and biodiversity."

Kenny Stancil ·


EPA Urged to 'Finish the Job' After Latest Move to Protect Bristol Bay From Pebble Mine

"Local residents, scientists, and the broader public all agree that this is quite simply a bad place for a mine, and it is past time for the EPA to take Pebble off the table permanently," said one activist in Alaska.

Jessica Corbett ·

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