On Twitter and in interviews, President Trump and his supporters have alleged that his campaign observers were blocked from ballot-counting rooms, hindering their ability to witness and report several instances of what the Trump campaign has baselessly claimed was widespread election fraud that has marred the results.
“THE OBSERVERS WERE NOT ALLOWED INTO THE COUNTING ROOMS,” Mr. Trump alleged in a tweet on Saturday. “BAD THINGS HAPPENED WHICH OUR OBSERVERS WERE NOT ALLOWED TO SEE.”
The charge was without any basis in fact, and was, in reality, contradicted by several of Mr. Trump’s own legal filings.
In cases that his campaign brought in Nevada and Pennsylvania — one dismissed, the other pending — it acknowledged that its observers were indeed present in the counting rooms. His lawyers were, rather, asking the courts to force election officials to allow Mr. Trump’s observers to get even closer views of the counting activity.
A judge in the Nevada case dismissed the bid, ruling that Mr. Trump’s lawyers “failed to prove” that local election officials “interfered with any right they or anyone else has an observer.” In the Philadelphia case, the Trump campaign succeeded in forcing city elections officials to allow observers to be up to six feet from counting tables, as opposed to the roughly 20-foot observation line officials had previously set. But during a hearing for a federal version of that suit on Thursday, Judge Paul Diamond of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania pressed a lawyer for Mr. Trump on whether the campaign’s observers did, in fact, have access to the facility. The lawyer said, grudgingly, that there were “a nonzero number” of people in the room. (In the interest of expediting the case, Judge Diamond pushed the Philadelphia board to agree to an expanded number of observers.)
A case the Trump campaign brought in Chatham County, Ga., was, in fact, based on a Trump observer’s allegation that he had seen workers count some 53 ballots that weren’t valid — a thin charge that the observer could not support in court; the judge threw out the suit on Thursday.
Mr. Trump and his allies have seized on photographs of election workers at one point using cardboard to block windows of a large counting room inside the TFC Center in Detroit, alleging that workers there were covering up nefarious activity.
In fact, The Detroit Free Press reported, the cardboard was meant to block the view of boisterous protesters outside the room who were trying to photograph and video the workers handling ballots with sensitive personal information about voter preferences. At the time, The Free Press reported, there were 134 Republican observers inside the counting area, along with a similar number of Democratic observers.