No evidence his campaign’s legal challenges will affect the election result – but they could affect public opinion


Demonstrators protest in Philadelphia on Wednesday.                      Demonstrators protest in Philadelphia on Wednesday. Photograph: Rachel Wisniewski/Reuters

With millions of votes waiting to be counted in the US presidential election, Donald Trump has effectively threatened to sue his way to re-election.

As of Wednesday evening, the president and his campaign had promised to bring the election to the supreme court, sued to halt vote-counting in threebattleground states and requested a recount in another.

But at this moment, there is no evidence the campaign’s legal challenges will have a bearing on the election result under the law. Instead, the concern is how litigation plays in the court of public opinion, where the suggestion of fraud in one battleground state could cast doubt on the whole election.

Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said Americans should be confident their votes will be counted, but warned of Trump’s history of voting disinformation.

“The more desperate he may become, the more baseless allegations there are about the ways in which states count ballots, about our democratic process and his own authority over this process,” Gupta said.

Post-election litigation is normal. Lawsuits are always filed on election day and the days after in response to issues such as equipment malfunctions, printing errors and polls not opening on time.