President Trump said he’ll declare an early victory Tuesday night if it looks like he’s “ahead” — even while battleground states like Pennsylvania plan to receive ballots after Election Day.
Three sources familiar with the president’s private comments told Axios the president has considered the scenario over the past few weeks, saying that he would “walk up to a podium on election night and declare he’s won.”
The president’s allies say he would either need to win or “have commanding leads” in Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Texas, Iowa, Arizona, and Georgia.
During a Sunday afternoon campaign rally in Dubuque, Iowa, Trump told the crowd that he wasn’t going to let Democrats steal the election and that the country should have the results by Election Day.
“I’ve seen people where an election got stolen — and by the way, we’re not going to let that happen to us, you know, with these ballots,” Trump said.
“How about the Supreme Court ruling where the Supreme Court — no this was not good, where the Supreme Court gave them more time, more time,” Trump continued. “So what does this mean? … So it’s not Nov. 3, it’s going to be much later than that? No, no, we should know the result of the election on Nov. 3. The evening of Nov. 3. What’s going on in this country?”
The coronavirus pandemic prompted an unprecedented level of mail-in voting and expanded early voting across the country. In Texas, more people have voted before Election Day than the total number of voters in 2016. But, all those ballots have to be counted, and in 34 states, mail-in ballots are not allowed to be counted until Election Day. Seventeen of those states are not allowed to start counting until after the polls have closed, according to Ballotpedia.
Many states have expanded how long after Election Day they will accept ballots to be counted. Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that North Carolina can accept ballots up to nine days after Election Day as long as they’re postmarked by Tuesday. The high court also ruled that Pennsylvania can accept ballots up to three days after Election Day.
Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh told Axios, “This is nothing but people trying to create doubt about a Trump victory. When he wins, he’s going to say so.”
Appearing on ABC’s This Week, Trump adviser, Jason Miller, suggested the administration might start a legal battle against including ballots counted after Election Day to prevent an attempt by Democrats to “steal back” the election.
“If you speak with many smart Democrats, they believe President Trump will be ahead on election night, probably getting 280 electoral, something in that range. And then they’ll try to steal it back after the election,” Miller said on Sunday. “We believe we’ll be over 290 electoral votes on election night. So no matter what they try to do, no matter what kind of high jinks or nonsense they try to pull off, we’ll still have enough electoral votes to get President Trump reelected.”
According to FiveThirtyEight, the timing of the results of Tuesday’s election could vary from state to state. For states like Michigan and Pennsylvania, the results may take until the end of the week.
Author: Tyler Van Dyke
Source: Washington Examiner: Trump to declare early victory before final vote count if ahead election night: Report