Former Vice President Joe Biden has now become President-elect Joe Biden, and Sen. Kamala Harris has now become Vice President-elect. But what happens now? Between now and Jan. 20, what does the road to the White House look like? The Trump campaign and President Trump himself have not conceded, and efforts to conduct recounts are underway from the administration.
President Trump is planning on legal action, demanding that some states where Biden has won be recounted. The states in which the Trump campaign is pursuing lawsuits are Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada, Georgia, and Arizona. In Wisconsin, the President is requesting a recount.
Individual states would normally handle lawsuits such as these, but according to the BBC, “U.S. attorney general William Barr has allowed federal prosecutors to probe the allegations.”
In Pennsylvania, the Trump campaign filed a lawsuit saying poll watchers had a lack of access. Information from the BBC explained that there was a 20-foot perimeter set up in the Philadelphia counting facility, and on Nov. 5, a ruling was passed for it to be changed to a 6-foot perimeter, as long as the poll watchers followed CDC COVID-19 guidelines. According to the BBC, “On the same day, the Trump campaign accused election officials of violating the judge's order and filed a federal lawsuit to stop the count in Philadelphia, which was rejected. Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for the president, said: ‘Even when a court order was obtained to allow the Republican inspectors to get six feet closer, they moved the people counting the ballots six further feet away.’"
The lawsuit in Pennsylvania also focused on ballots that were postmarked for Nov. 3, but arrived three days later to be disqualified, in an appeal by Republicans. Ballots that arrived three days after the election were not disqualified in Pennsylvania, as Republicans had appealed to do on Nov. 6.
According to the BBC, “On 9 November, the Trump campaign filed a further lawsuit to stop the certifying of results, arguing the state subjected in-person voting—which favored Donald Trump—to greater scrutiny than postal votes.”
“The Pennsylvania Attorney General said this new lawsuit was ‘meritless,’ and experts say it is unlikely to succeed,” continued the BBC.
In Wisconsin, the Trump campaign stated that they will request a recount from the state based on “abnormalities seen.” The state’s deadline for officials finishing the review of the votes is Nov. 17.
In Michigan, the president’s campaign on Nov. 4 filed a lawsuit to stop the counting of ballots due to claims that there was a lack of access to observing the ballot counting. The lawsuit was dismissed, with a judge stating that there was insufficient evidence. Another lawsuit was filed on Nov. 9, seeking to block votes from Wayne County on complaints from poll watchers.
In Nevada, a lawsuit was filed on Nov. 5, alleging “lax procedures for authenticating mail-in ballots over 3,000 instances of ineligible individuals casting ballots.”
Trump’s legal team provided a list of people who they claimed moved out of state but voted in Nevada. In Nevada, “people who leave the state within 30 days before an election can still vote [. . .]. Students and military personnel from Nevada- who are living elsewhere- can also vote.”
In Georgia, on Nov. 4 in Chatham County, a lawsuit was filed alleging problems with ballot processing. On Nov. 5, a judge dismissed the lawsuit saying there was no evidence of improper ballot mixing.
In Arizona, there was a lawsuit filed on Nov. 7, with claims that some legal votes were rejected, based on citations from poll watchers and two voters, according to the BBC.
Biden now faces an uphill battle, as the Trump campaign has refused to concede.
During the period of time between the announcement of Biden winning the election and Inauguration Day, a period of transition begins to happen. Biden will appoint a transition team who will begin to gather intel on incoming staff, be briefed on deadlines, budgets, and which career staff do what in federal agencies.
With the transition period beginning for the Biden-Harris campaign, some supporters of Trump have not acknowledged the President-elect as the winner of the election.
Emily Murphy, who was appointed by Trump, said no “ascertainment” has been made on the election winner yet, which puts an obstacle in front of Biden’s transition team from obtaining information needed during the transition period.
The General Services Administration has also still yet to acknowledge Biden as President-elect, which again, poses as an obstacle for Biden’s transition team.
The Biden-Harris team has a long way to go until Jan. 20, and Biden faces a pandemic and a divided Congress.
According to NBC, “Few are confident that Biden can fulfill his promise to bridge the nation's various political divides. But his patience and compassion, combined with his history of making deals with McConnell, have created a sense of tentative optimism among those who supported him.”
Biden will have to compromise with both sides, Republican and Democrat, in order to pass legislation and begin to bridge the gap between the two parties as Congress is deeply divided and passing legislation will not be easy.
There is still a long way to go to inauguration day on Jan. 20, and still a lot more in the election process, from recounts, to full confirmation from states and the Senate, before Biden is sworn into office.