By Tom Hals and Makini Brice
U.S. judges on Monday rejected bids led by an ally of President Donald Trump to decertify President-elect Joe Biden’s victories in Michigan and Georgia because of unsubstantiated election irregularities and to have Trump declared the winner in both states, the latest failed efforts to upend the election results.
Both lawsuits were filed on Nov. 25 by Sidney Powell, a former lawyer for the Trump campaign, on behalf of groups of Republican voters. Trump and his allies have lost numerous cases aimed at overturning election results in states Trump lost in the Nov. 3 election after winning them in 2016, making unfounded claims of fraud.
U.S. District Judge Linda Parker in Detroit and U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten in Atlanta ruled that the plaintiffs lacked the legal standing to bring the lawsuits and that the cases were filed too late.
“The people have spoken,” Parker wrote, referring to the election results.
Batten said a hearing on Monday that the plaintiffs were seeking “perhaps the most extraordinary relief ever sought” in connection with an election.
“They want this court to substitute its judgment for that of two-and-a-half million Georgia voters who voted for Joe Biden, and this I am unwilling to do,” Batten said.
Powell did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Biden won Michigan by about 154,000 votes and Georgia by about 12,000 votes, giving him 16 electoral votes from each state. Biden amassed 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232 in the state-by-state Electoral College that determines the winner of a presidential election. The Electoral College meets on Dec. 14 to formally cast the votes.
Trump, who has falsely claimed that he won the election, and his allies have waged an unsuccessful legal battle to try to undo the election results. Judges have also rejected cases in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Wisconsin.
“This lawsuit seems to be less about achieving the relief plaintiffs seek – as much of that relief is beyond the power of this court – and more about the impact of their allegations on people’s faith in the democratic process and their trust in our government,” Parker added.
Democrats and others have accused Trump of trying to harm public confidence in the integrity of U.S. elections and undermine American democracy. A majority of Republicans in recent opinion polls have said they believe Trump won the election and that it was stolen through voter fraud. State election officials have said there is no evidence of such fraud.
Tuesday is the so-called safe harbor deadline for states to resolve disputes arising from the election. Under U.S. law, Congress will consider a state’s election result to be “conclusive” if it is finalized by the safe harbor date.