Trump campaign files vote-counting lawsuit in Georgia as margin narrows

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The Trump 2020 Campaign and the Republican Party of Georgia filed a lawsuit in the state Wednesday, alleging that officials in a Democratic-leaning county were counting ballots for the presidential race that were received after polls closed Tuesday. 

The Trump campaign also filed two other lawsuits — in the battlegrounds of Michigan and Pennsylvania — over vote counting. The Fox News Decision Desk has called Michigan for Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

The Georgia lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of Chatham County, a population center that includes Savannah. As of early Thursday Biden was winning the county by a 16-point margin over Trump.

The lawsuit asks a judge to make sure county officials are keeping track of all late-arriving mail-in ballots — but not counting them, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 

The filing includes an affidavit in which a registered poll worker claims he saw at least 53 late ballots mixed in with others, according to The Hill.

“We will not allow Democrat election officials to steal this election from President Trump with late, illegal ballots,” deputy campaign manager Justin Clark said in a statement. “President Trump and the Georgia Republican Party have filed suit to require all Georgia counties to separate any and all late-arriving ballots from all legally cast ballots to ensure a free, fair election in which only legal, valid ballots count.”

David Shafer, chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, tweeted Wednesday he had authorized lawyers for the party to file an emergency petition against the Chatham County Board of Elections to “enforce election laws and prevent the unlawful counting of absentee ballots received after the election.”

The lawsuit said that failing to make sure late-arriving ballots are kept separate from on-time ones “as required under Georgia law, harms the interests of the Trump Campaign and President Trump because it could lead to the dilution of legal votes cast in support of President Trump," according to the Journal-Constitution.

Chatham County Elections Supervisor Russell Bridges said he wasn't aware of the lawsuit, but when asked by The Current, a Savannah-area news outlet, he said Shafer doesn't know what he's talking about.

“If he was observing something in our absentee center, there is a control on everything that moves through that building. There’s a log of every ballot that’s going in there and a log of every ballot that’s processed," he said. "If somebody was mixing something or moving something, it was already recorded and accounted for.”

The Chatham County Board of Elections has not yet officially commented on the lawsuit.

Trump had a solid lead in the state when polls first closed but once mail-in ballots started to be counted in the hours after, his lead shrunk substantially to just over 23,000 with more votes to be counted in Democratic strongholds as of early Thursday. 

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