Donald Trump continued to amplify unfounded claims about widespread voter fraud during a campaign stop in Ohio after critical court rulings in three states have denied the president’s attempts to challenge mail-in ballot procedures.
“This is a real affront to to our democracy,” he told supporters in Dayton on Monday.
A federal court on Monday rejected the campaign’s push to reverse changes to the state’s election laws, a blow to the president’s attempts to stop efforts to expand vote-by-mail efforts by mail ballots to active registered voters in the critical battleground state.
At his campaign rally in Dayton, Ohio, the president also falsely claimed that the measure removed signature-matching requirements, but his campaign’s attorneys acknowledged in court filings that those requirements will continue under the rule changes.
Following a a lawsuit from several candidates running for public office who argued that the president and the US Postal Service had crippled election mail, US District Judge Victor Marrero in New York ordered that the agency must prioritise election-related mail.
With his ruling on Monday, the parties must settle to reach an agreement by Friday or he will order postal workers to make extra trips or work overtime duties through early November to keep up with election mail demands.
And in Wisconsin, US District Judge William Conley ruled that election officials can extend a deadline for mail-in ballot registration and can provide an extra week to receive absentee ballots, as long as they’re post-marked by Election Day – meaning a final mail-in ballot count won’t arrive until several days after voters head to the polls.
“They want it to be a mess," the president claimed of his Democratic rivals. “They know it’s no good … People steal the ballots, people don’t get the ballots, they don’t send them to a Republican area, or maybe a Democratic area, whatever, it’s still wrong.”
He also accused Democrats of “ballot harvesting” and sending out millions of ballots across the US without any oversight or direction.
“Where the hell are they going?” he said. “They know it’s a fraud waiting to happen … They want a mess.”
He also claimed that Democrats are hoping to “fight out” the election results in the courts, though he has also signalled that his campaign is preparing to do the same.
During a campaign rally in North Carolina, the president said: “We're counting on the federal court system to make it so that we can actually have an evening where we know who wins.”
“Not where the votes are going to be counted a week later or two weeks later," he said.