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After the elections, Anti-Trump Protesters make demonstrations in Black Lives Matter Plaza near White House.

Having trouble keeping track of the Trump lawsuits? Here’s an updated scorecard.

UPDATE (Dec. 8, 2020): As the Trump campaign continues to lose in court, its efforts to change the election results are shifting to pressuring state legislators and top state officials to change their presidential slate of electors to pro-Trump members.

President Donald J. Trump is reaching for any means possible to win another four years in office, even though enough states have already determined Joseph R. Biden as the winner.

This past week, the Trump legal team lost in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in a unanimous decision, as well as losing in a number of state courts:

  • A Minnesota state Supreme Court ruled Republicans had waited too long by filing a lawsuit just hours before certification of the president ballot.
  • A Michigan Court of Appeals declined to overrule a lower court ruling against Trump, in a Nevada court that declared there is “no credible or reliable evidence” of voter fraud. 
  • In a 4-3 ruling, the Wisconsin Supreme Court flatly dismissed a Trump team request to toss out nearly 3.3 million votes it claimed were invalid. Meanwhile, the state certified Biden’s election.
  • An Arizona Superior Court dismissed the state’s Republican Party effort to block Biden’s election, which had earlier been certified by the state.

Meanwhile, Trump’s attorney, Rudolph Giuliani, complained that state Republicans have “let down America” by allowing the state to certify Biden as the winner of the presidential election.

Meanwhile, some legislators in Pennsylvania and other states have requested their governors to block Biden’s certification.

On Monday, this week, Trump’s re-election campaign filed an appeal with both the Pennsylvania and Nevada Supreme Courts, seeking that the states’ election wins for Biden be overturned.

The next day, a federal “safe harbor” deadline went into effect that requires states to certify their election results prior to the Dec. 14 vote by the national Electoral College (comprised of all state’s electors).

The U.S. Constitution, per the 12th Amendment, requires states to designate electors whose collective votes select the next president.

Even the House of Representatives and the Federal Election Commission have roles in making the final decision for choosing the next president.

Historically, the selection of presidents have utilized all these methods. 

  • In 1796, the Electoral College picked John Adams as president and Thomas Jefferson as vice president when Adams won more electoral votes.
  • In 1801, the House of Representatives picked Thomas Jefferson as president over Aaron Burr to resolve a tie in the Electoral College.
  • In 1825, the Electoral College picked John Quincy Adams over Andrew Johnson who actually had won the most votes.
  • In 1876, Samuel Tilden won the popular vote and Electoral College vote, but after Republicans in three states challenged the selection of electors resulting in the states submitting two opposing slates of electors, Congress established the Federal Electoral Commission to investigate disputed Electoral College ballots. The commission picked Tilden’s challenger and lower vote-getter, Rutherford B. Hayes.

But most people believe modern elections assume that voters make the final decision and the involvement of state-based “electors” is just a quirk of our Constitution.

Trump continues to challenge that assumption.

UPDATE (Nov. 30, 2020): Like fireflies, lawsuits that strive to magically make Donald J. Trump the 2020 presidential election winner flare for a few moments, only to disappear into the dark of night.

Among the latest defeats for Trump’s campaign and his supporters, Saturday the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected a lower court order of just three days before that blocked the state’s certification of Joseph R. Biden as the winner of the state’s presidential election. 

In a concurring opinion, Judge David Wecht wrote: “They have failed to allege that even a single mail-in ballot was fraudulently cast or counted.”

Meanwhile, Biden, who won the state by some 80,000 votes, has been certified by the state as the winner of Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes.

On Friday, a federal appeals court in Pennsylvania described the legal effort by Trump lawyer Rudolph Guiliani and his legal team as a “Frankenstein’s monster,” lacking evidence and filled with errors as it attempted to allege widespread fraud in the state’s election.

The same day Trump lawyer Sidney Powell filed a lawsuit in federal court in Georgia [ claiming that Iran, Russia and China had manipulated the 2020 election, implied foreign connections with Biden and alleged a voting machine company was involved with voting fraud.

She alleges “massive election fraud” and “multiple Constitutional violations” and is asking the court to either de-certify the results of the Georgia presidential election or bar any absentee or mailed ballots from being counted. 

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of a group of Georgia voters, asks the court to direct the governor to certify that Trump won the election.

Another federal suit filed by Powell in Michigan on Wednesday alleges similar complaints and calls for similar relief, including having the Michigan results changed to favor Trump.

Ironically, Trump’s legal team previously distanced itself from Powell, saying that she was not a member of the Trump team or a personal lawyer for Trump, despite appearing with Guiliani and the legal team at an official press conference. 

Meanwhile, Wisconsin, where several lawsuits were filed and dropped and at least one other is ongoing, certified Biden’s win by more than 20,000 votes on Monday.

Trump’s legal team insists its legal efforts will eventually end up in the Supreme Court, although Trump, himself, acknowledged in a Fox interview Sunday that it would be “very hard” to get one of the cases to the high court.

UPDATE (Nov. 23, 2020): A federal judge’s contemptuous and flat dismissal Saturday of one of Donald J. Trump’s lawsuits was perhaps one of the most significant legal actions last week relating to the Trump campaign’s attempts to throw out votes that led to Joseph R. Biden’s winning bid to become the next President of the United States.

“It is not in the power of this Court to violate the Constitution,” Judge Matthew Brann of the US District Court in the Middle District of Pennsylvania wrote as he dismissed Trump’s federal lawsuit that he said attempted to “discard millions of votes legally cast by Pennsylvanians from all corners.”

“In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state. Our people, laws, and institutions demand more,” the judge continued.

Trump’s lawsuit, which Brann described as filled with “strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations,” was just one of two dozen failed attempts to thwart the will of the voters. About a dozen mostly minor cases related to the Nov. 3 election are still pending. 

At least one new legal action was filed Friday against Trump, according to Politico, by a group of Michigan voters who allege Trump is trying to disenfranchise Black voters by asking the courts to throw out all votes from two heavily Black counties. 

Meanwhile, as of Friday, 15 states, including Georgia, had formally certified their election results. All states must do so by Dec. 8. The actual Electoral College vote must be made by Dec. 14.

UPDATE (Nov. 18, 2020): A loss in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the skepticism of a federal judge continues to signal a poor outcome for President Donald J. Trump’s legal efforts to thwart President-Elect Joseph R. Biden’s pending inauguration as the 45th President of the United States.

Tuesday, Pennsylvania U.S. District Judge Judge Matthew Brann asked Trump’s lawyer, Rudolph Guiliani, “At bottom, you’re asking this court to invalidate some 6.8 million votes thereby disenfranchising every single voter in the commonwealth. Can you tell me how this result could possibly be justified?” 
In other action, the list of lawyers abandoning their representation of Trump grew, while other Trump lawyers dropped four cases in Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania on Monday. The previous Friday, nine other cases were either denied or dropped.

UPDATE: President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to ask the courts to reverse the results of the Nov. 3 election are largely failing, although his lawyers did win one case in Pennsylvania involving only a small number of ballots. In just the past week, a number of cases have been outright denied, thrown out of court, or abandoned by Trump’s legal team, which admitted in one court that they were not alleging voting fraud. One law firm leading ballot challenges in Pennsylvania actually withdrew its representation of Trump. See some specific updates below for major cases in Pennsylvania and Arizona.


It seems clear by now that Joe Biden and not Donald Trump will be the next president.

But at least a dozen lawsuits have been filed by Trump’s campaign in five hotly contested states — Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan, Nevada and Georgia — to challenge the results. 

None of the lawsuits have had an effect on the outcome. Several have been withdrawn or tossed out of court, while others, including a Pennsylvania case, may be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, votes are still being counted in many states where Biden is in the lead, albeit narrowly.

That lead, according to the Associated Press, is enough to offset any still-outstanding votes and secure him the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency. And if his leads hold, he could secure up to 306 electoral votes, the same amount Trump won in 2016.

RELATED: The courts are not just deciding elections; judges faced election, too

RELATED: Remember the Florida recount in 2000? Here’s an update on some of the players

Trump continues to insist, however, that he really won the election, providing so-called “illegal” votes are not counted. Charging fraud, he is refusing to concede the election to Biden.

Further complicating the legal status of the election is U.S. Attorney General William Barr’s recent announcement giving permission to federal prosecutors to look into “substantial allegations of voting and vote tabulation irregularities”.

Previously, the Justice Department has refrained from investigating irregularities in ongoing elections, deferring instead to state authorities.

Here are just some of the Trump lawsuits filed either just before or after the Nov. 3 election. About half are no longer being litigated:


Case: Republican Party of Pennsylvania v. Boockvar
Issue: Should mail ballots received after 8 p.m. on election day, Nov. 3, be thrown out? Previously, a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling extended the deadline for receipt of mail ballots to Nov. 6. The ruling was appealed twice by state campaign officials to the U.S. Supreme Court (the first federal appeal was denied; the second was refused with possibility of reconsideration);
Venue: U.S. Supreme Court; Pennsylvania Supreme Court

Originally Filed: Sept. 28, 2020
Ruling(s): REFUSED, PENDING possible resubmission
Status: Nearly a dozen state attorneys general have filed amicus briefs asking to join the lawsuit asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision that allowed late-delivery, mail-in ballots to be counted. The courts ordered affected ballots be kept separate from other votes in case they are eventually invalidated.

Case: Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. et al v. Kathy Boockvar, et al 
Venue: U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania

Updated: Nov. 23, 2020
Originally Filed: Nov. 9, 2020
Ruling(s): DISMISSED
Status: Judge Matthew Brann ruled Saturday, Nov. 21, that the case had no merit and dismissed the action “with prejudice,” which means it may not be refiled. The ruling could be appealed, however, and Trump has indicated informally that he intends to do so. Trump’s original complaint asks the court to block certification of either all presidential election votes or, alternatively, absentee and mail-in ballots the complaint alleges were improperly corrected. The original complaint also alleged that Republican observers were unable to properly watch how ballots were processed and counted, and that rules relating to how voters could fix deficient ballots unfairly favored Democratic ballots.

Case: Trump for President v Philadelphia County Board of Elections
Issue: Should ballot counting in Philadelphia be stopped until better access is provided to Republican observers?
Venue: U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on appeal from state court 

Originally Filed: Oct. 9, 2020
Ruling(s): DENIED on appeal
Status: The case failed to result in any change to the counting process, except for a mutual party agreement allowing observers closer access to election officials counting ballots.

Case: In Re: Canvassing Observation
Issue: Should Trump observers be allowed to stand closer to ballot counters?
Venue: Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court 

Originally Filed: Nov. 3, 2020

Updated: Nov. 18, 2020
Ruling(s): DENIED
Status: The case was initially DENIED in Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court and then GRANTED on appeal, but a further APPEAL filed by the state resulted in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court denying in a 5-2 vote the Trump complaint, effectively throwing the case out of court. The ruling said that Philadelphia officials did not violate state law by requiring Republican vote observers to stand at least 15 feet away from workers who were counting ballots.

Case: Donald J. Trump for President Inc. v. Kathy Boockvar and County Boards of Elections

Issue: Should the Pennsylvania Secretary of State and all counties be required to change the date back from the current Nov. 12 to Nov. 9 for provisional ballot voters to show proof of identification?
Venue: Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court 

Updated: Nov. 16, 2020 

Originally Filed: Nov. 4, 2020
Ruling(s): GRANTED
Status:   On Nov. 12, the court ordered the county board of elections to halt any counting of segregated ballots. During the ballot counting, affected ballots had been ordered to be kept separate, while those ballot signatures validated after Nov. 9 are temporarily not to be included in preliminary official count.

Case: Hamm v. Boockvar
Issue: Did the Pennsylvania Secretary of State violate state law by telling voters with mail ballot deficiencies to cast provisional ballots instead?
Venue: Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court 

Originally Filed: Nov. 3, 2020
Ruling(s): Mixed ruling; preliminary injunction GRANTED; balance of suit DENIED; and case STAYED pending possible future request to reopen.
Status: Affected provisional ballots are being kept separate from other ballots for possible later court ruling.


Case: Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. et al v. Katie Hobbs et al
Issue: The case alleges poll workers failed to notify in-person voters that their votes were flagged as “over votes” (votes for multiple candidates in a specific race) and thus discarded. As a result, the complaint says, voters were not able to correct the error, and, therefore, ignored “up to thousands of additional votes for President Trump and other Republican candidates”. The lawsuit requests a manual inspection of the affected ballots.

Venue: Superior Court for the State of Arizona for the County of Maricopa

Updated: Nov. 16, 2020

Originally Filed: Nov. 7, 2020
Ruling(s): WITHDRAWN

Status:  Trump’s legal team dropped this lawsuit since the number of ballots in question would not have been enough to overturn Biden’s win in the Arizona election.


Case: Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. et al v. Katie Hobbs et al

Issue: Should certification of the vote be delayed until all votes can be re-examined, The case, dubbed “Sharpiegate” in social media, alleged Arizona voters received Sharpie markers to indicate their ballot choices. When processed vote tabulation machines rejected some of these ballots as defective, poll workers improperly ignored the warnings, causing some votes to be uncounted. 

Venue: Superior Court for the State of Arizona for the County of Maricopa

Originally Filed: Nov. 7, 2020

Ruling(s): NONE

Status (Updated Nov. 10, 2020):  Case withdrawn.


Case: In Re: Enforcement of Election Laws and Security Ballots Cast…

Issue: Should the Chatham Board of Elections be required to segregate all absentee ballots and provide the plaintiffs with a full accounting of the ballots including voters’ names?

Venue: Superior Court of Chatham County, State of Georgia
Originally Filed: Nov. 4, 2020

Ruling(s): DISMISSED

Status: The Trump campaign alleged that election officials failed to properly store late-arriving ballots, mixing them in and counting them with on-time ballots. The judge in the case ruled on Nov. 5 that the plaintiffs had failed to prove their allegations. and showed no evidence that the ballots were invalid.


Issue: Should the Michigan vote be officially certified by the Michigan board of state canvassers and the Wayne County canvassing boards? The case alleges that the current vote tally contains “fraudulent or unlawfully cast ballots.” The suit alleges certain voters’ Constitutional rights were violated under due process and equal protection clauses when Wayne County refused to allow Republican challengers to observe the election procedures and processing of ballots. The court is asked to either invalidate ballots received after election day or hand count them to ensure accuracy before including them in a final tally.

Venue: United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan

Originally Filed: Nov. 11, 2020

Ruling(s): PENDING.

Status: Since the case has just been filed, the state will be given a chance to file a response and a hearing date will be set by the judge.

Case: Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. v. Jocelyn Benson
Issue: Did voter fraud taint the outcome of the Michigan presidential election? Case alleges voter fraud, missing voting boxes and exclusion of Republican observers. The complaint against Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson asked that ballot counting be halted and some votes be segregated.
Venue: Michigan Court of Appeals; Michigan Court of Claims

Originally Filed: Nov. 4, 2020

Ruling(s): DENIED at both trial and appeals level; final adjudication PENDING.
Status (Updated Nov. 10, 2020): The trial judge found that Trump’s complaint used “inadmissible” hearsay evidence and lacked any direct evidence of fraud. On appeal, the court said on Nov. 10 that the filing also lacked required documentation. Trump’s lawyers now have 21 days from the ruling date to file a new appeal.


Case: Jill Stokke, et al v. Secretary of State Barbaa Cegavske et al
Issue: Did illegal voting occur in Clark County?
Venue: U.S. District Court, District of Nevada

Originally Filed: Nov. 5, 2020
Ruling(s): DENIED
Status: The complaint alleged that someone else voted in Stokke’s name and that there were “over 3,000 instances of ineligible individuals casting ballots”. Suit sought halt in the use of automated signature verification machines and require a hand recanvass of all mail ballots in Clark County to verify signatures. The court ruled that no evidence was provided that election officials were doing anything illegal.

Case: Fred Kraus, Donald J. Trump for President Inc and the Nevada Republican Party
Issue: Should the vote counting process in Clark County stopped until certain observers could be present?
Venue: Nevada Supreme Court, Carson City District Court

Originally Filed: Oct. 23, 2020
Ruling(s): DENIED for lack of standing and evidence by state district court; and again DENIED on APPEAL in state Supreme Court
Status: Issue was subsequently SETTLED by expanding number of count observers.