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Trump Wanted to Know Why Mail-in Ballot Returns Were ‘Devastating.’ Attorneys Had Answers.


Following an overnight swing in voting totals that favored Democratic nominee Joe Biden, President Donald Trump claimed Wednesday that his lead “magically” disappeared due to the sudden emergence of “surprise ballots,” suggesting Biden’s lead was the result of foul play. But as several attorneys pointed out, the flood of Biden votes came from mail-in ballots—which Trump spent months demonizing and which Republicans argued should not be counted early.

“Last night I was leading, often solidly, in many key States, in almost all instances Democrat run & controlled. Then, one by one, they started to magically disappear as surprise ballot dumps were counted. VERY STRANGE, and the ‘pollsters’ got it completely & historically wrong!” Trump wrote Wednesday morning.

“How come every time they count Mail-In ballot dumps they are so devastating in their percentage and power of destruction?” he said, apparently asking his supporters a rhetorical question.

But experts have said for months that the huge influx in mail-in ballots would likely prevent the election results from being known on Election Day, with most noting it could take several days for some states to even receive all of the valid votes cast via mail. For example, in Pennsylvania, votes sent on or before Election Day can be received and counted until Friday.

“For anyone complaining about the ‘late’ shift in totals toward Democrats in MI, PA, and WI, most of those votes actually came in *first.* It’s only because those states’ Republican-controlled state legislatures wouldn’t allow ‘pre-canvassing’ that they’re now being counted last,” explained University of Texas law professor Steve Vladeck. “Don’t get me wrong—the first vote lawfully cast and the last vote lawfully cast are worth exactly the same. But in many states, including some of those we’re fixated on today, there’s no correlation between when they’re cast and when they’re counted. And *that* is why we wait.”

Attorneys were quick to point out that, due to the president’s consistent attacks on the security of mail-in voting, those late-tallied votes went for Biden in a huge way.

“Self-inflicted wound. We’ve been saying this since at least April,” wrote UC Irvine law professor and election law expert Rick Hasen.

Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti, a CNN legal analyst, similarly said it was “because you convinced your voters that they shouldn’t vote by mail.”

“Maybe telling your supporters not to mail in their ballots wasn’t a stable genius idea?” snarked defense attorney Scott Greenfield.

[image via NBC News screengrab]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.