Voters in four states who had brought longshot lawsuits to disrupt President-elect Joe Biden’s win and went nowhere in court dropped their cases Monday morning.
The cases were short-lived in Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania federal courts, and fed into a pro-Donald Trump legal strategy to block Biden’s presidential win before the Electoral College formalizes it.
That effort is almost certain to fail – even more so now. Cases seeking to block battleground states’ popular vote wins for Biden are getting fewer by the day, with two from the Trump campaign before federal judges in Michigan and Pennsylvania, one from an elector in Georgia, and one from pollwatchers in Michigan.
The announcement that the voters are dropping their suits comes three days after a federal appellate court said voters couldn’t bring some constitutional claims, essentially shutting down the path the Pennsylvania voters wanted to take in their suit.
Trump has refused to concede the election and continues to make false claims of widespread voter fraud with no evidence. Judges have repeatedly dismissed flimsy lawsuits claiming fraud, pointing out that there has been no proof.
The voter suits had reflected a pipe dream of Trump’s since his loss of the presidency became clear. Each alleged that their state’s election results should be doubted because voters used mail-in ballots, and asked for judges to invalidate or delay the election’s results before the Electoral College is finalized. The cases held out a handful of Trump voters who suspected there could have been fraud, or referred to episodes that have been disproven, unsubstantiated or could affect so few votes it wouldn’t change the election’s outcome.
The lawsuits admitted they didn’t have evidence of voter fraud – and instead believed “expert” reports might later show illegal votes. “This evidence will be shortly forthcoming when the relevant official documents are final and available,” each of the lawsuits said in their initial filings last week. The expert reports apparently never materialized.
The lawyers involved in the cases notified the courts minutes apart on Monday that they would like to voluntarily dismiss them, while maintaining the option to bring similar suits later.
The four lawsuits had all been backed by the law firm of a nationally known conservative attorney, James Bopp Jr. In Michigan and Pennsylvania, the cases had also gone hand in hand with ones brought by the Trump campaign.
Bopp, asked for an explanation on why his team is pulling the suits, responded, “because of [attorney-client] privilege and because I do not telegraph my next moves, I cannot comment.”
Kristen Clarke, the executive director of the voting rights advocacy group the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which had opposed the lawsuits, said the dismissals showed legal attempts to upend the election were baseless.
“There is no clear and coordinated strategy as these suits continue to crumble,” Clarke said in a statement. “These suits are part of a last-ditch attempt intended to promote chaos and discord while eroding public confidence in the outcome of our elections.”
On top of the fraud claims, his campaign and GOP allies have filed numerous and flimsy legal challenges in the days following the November 3 election, with some attempting to deprive Biden of the Electoral College votes he’s set to receive to become president.
On Friday, nine cases meant to attack Biden’s win in key states were denied or dropped. The Trump campaign dropped a lawsuit in Arizona that alleged some voters were confused on Election Day and feared that their ballots were not counted if the vote tabulation machines classified their ballots as “overvotes.” They were seeking a hand review of any ballots flagged by the machine as overvotes alleging it could result in thousands of votes for Trump.
The Trump campaign on Friday also lost six cases in two counties in Pennsylvania over whether almost 9,000 absentee ballots could be thrown out. Pollwatchers in Michigan lost their case to stop the certification of votes in Detroit, and a judge rejected their allegations of fraud.
The Trump campaign is still mounting some appeals, but those are also unlikely to succeed, especially as the battleground states’ deadlines to certify their election results approach in the coming weeks. The Electoral College is set to meet in mid-December, formalizing Biden’s win.
A hearing is scheduled in a federal court in Pennsylvania on Tuesday about whether the Trump campaign’s case there should be dismissed. That case initially was the boldest attempt by Trump to throw out or block the certification of votes in Pennsylvania, but Trump campaign lawyers cut back that case substantially over the weekend, after an appeals court shut down their ability to try to claim some election administration unfair under the Constitution. The case now focuses on the alleged unfairness of how counties in Pennsylvania handled absentee voting.
CNN legal analyst Rick Hasen wrote on his blog Monday morning that there is no longer a path in court for the Trump campaign to overturn the results of the election. “It’s over,” Hasen wrote. “We are talking done.”
This story has been updated with additional background information.
CNN’s Chandelis Duster and Kara Scannell contributed to this report.