Otago Daily Times

Electoral College new Trump focus


DETROIT/WILMINGTON: After a painstakin­g recount, Georgia officials confirmed yesterday that presidente­lect Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump in the battlegrou­nd state on November 3, further narrowing the president’s dubious effort to overturn the election results.

The result of the sixday hand recount of the state’s 5 million ballots had been expected, despite baseless allegation­s from Trump and his allies of widespread fraud.

Amid a series of losses in court, Trump’s reelection campaign has shifted to a new strategy that relies on persuading Republican state legislator­s in crucial states to ignore the election results and intervene on Trump’s behalf, according to three people familiar with the plan.

The campaign has filed multiple lawsuits to try to challenge the results in battlegrou­nd states that Biden won, as election officials across the country affirm there is no evidence of major irregulari­ties. Judges in three states delivered new legal setbacks to the campaign yesterday, rejecting claims of improper vote counting.

Biden, a Democrat, has captured 306 electoral votes to the Republican Trump’s 232 in the statebysta­te Electoral College that determines the winner of the election, well above the 270 needed for victory.

Georgia’s audit, launched after unofficial results showed Biden leading Trump by about 14,000 votes cast, ended with Biden winning by 12,284, according to Secretary of State Brad Raffensper­ger’s office. The state is expected to certify Biden’s victory today.

Trump and his allies, including Georgia’s Republican US senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, who both face runoff elections in January, have accused fellow Republican Raffensper­ger without evidence of overseeing a flawed election, which he has angrily disputed.

In remarks yesterday after a call with 10 state governors, Biden called Trump’s attempt to reverse the results ‘‘totally irresponsi­ble’’.

‘‘It sends a horrible message about who we are as a country,’’ the presidente­lect said.

Legal experts see Trump’s lastgasp effort as unlikely to succeed, but say the strategy represents an unpreceden­ted assault on the country’s democratic institutio­ns by a sitting president.

The Trump campaign has already asked a judge in Pennsylvan­ia, where Biden won by 82,000 votes, to declare Trump the winner, allowing the Republican­controlled legislatur­e to choose the state’s 20 Electoral College voters.

Several law firms have pulled out of the campaign’s legal challenges, leaving Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to spearhead the efforts.

At a news conference yesterday, Giuliani said he planned to file more lawsuits and that Democrats had engaged in a ‘‘national conspiracy’’ to manipulate vote totals, although he admitted he did not have any evidence.

Other members of the legal team floated a theory involving Venezuela and George Soros, a bogeyman of conservati­ves, although they said they would probably not pursue it in court.

Giuliani’s agitated performanc­e, featuring rivulets of hair dye running down his face, was widely mocked by Democrats. Others expressed alarm.

‘‘That press conference was the most dangerous 1hr 45 minutes of television in American history,’’ tweeted Christophe­r Krebs, who headed the US Government’s efforts to combat election disinforma­tion until he was fired by Trump this week. — Reuters

 ?? PHOTO: REUTERS ?? Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani wipes away sweat and hair dye as he speaks about the US presidenti­al election results in Washington yesterday.
PHOTO: REUTERS Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani wipes away sweat and hair dye as he speaks about the US presidenti­al election results in Washington yesterday.

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