(Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s campaign lost court rulings in the closely contested states of Georgia and Michigan on Thursday, even as it vowed to bring a new lawsuit challenging what it called voting irregularities in Nevada.
In the Georgia case, the campaign alleged that 53 late-arriving ballots were mixed with on-time ballots. In Michigan, it had sought to stop votes from being counted and obtain greater access to the tabulation process.
State judges tossed out both lawsuits on Thursday.
James Bass, a Superior Court judge in Georgia, said there was “no evidence” that the ballots in question were invalid.
In the Michigan case, Judge Cynthia Stephens said: “I have no basis to find that there is a substantial likelihood of success on the merits.”
A Trump campaign spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment on the Michigan and Georgia rulings.
Trump allies also alleged that there had been voting irregularities in Nevada’s populous Clark County, which includes Las Vegas.
Votes are still being counted in all three states, among a handful of battleground states that could decide the presidency. Democratic challenger Joe Biden has a narrow lead in Nevada, Trump a narrow lead in Georgia, and Biden has been projected to win in Michigan.
At a news conference in Las Vegas on Thursday, former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt and other Trump campaign surrogates, including former administration official Richard Grenell, gave no evidence to support their allegations of irregularities and did not answer questions from reporters.
“We believe that there are dead voters that have been counted. We are also confident that there are thousands of people whose votes have been counted that have moved out of Clark County during the pandemic,” Laxalt said.
He said a lawsuit would be filed in federal court to ask the judge to “stop the counting of improper votes.”
Joe Gloria, an election official in Clark County, told reporters there was no evidence of improper ballots being processed.
Bob Bauer, a senior adviser to Biden’s campaign, called the various Trump lawsuits a “meritless” distraction and said the strategy was designed to undermine the integrity of the electoral process.
“This is part of a broader misinformation campaign that involves some political theater,” he said.
“They’re intended to give the Trump campaign the opportunity to argue the vote count should stop. It is not going to stop,” he told reporters on Thursday.
In Pennsylvania, where Trump is narrowly leading but Biden is gaining, the Trump campaign and other Republicans have already filed various legal challenges.
An appeals court in Pennsylvania on Thursday ordered that Trump campaign officials be allowed to more closely observe ballot processing in Philadelphia, which led to a brief delay in the count.
A judge later in the day helped negotiate an agreement that a fixed number of observers from each campaign — up to 60 — could be admitted into parts of the city’s ballot-counting area inside the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
Pennsylvania Democrats filed papers on Thursday in the U.S. Supreme Court saying that although they would not oppose the Trump campaign’s bid to intervene in a pending appeal in which Republicans seek to block late-arriving mail-in ballots in the state, it was premature for the court to act on the motion.
Trump has repeatedly said that he expects the Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority including three justices he appointed, to have a key role in determining the outcome.
“We think there’s going to be a lot of litigation,” Trump told reporters on Thursday, adding that “it’s going to end up perhaps in the highest court in the land.”
But it is unlikely the Supreme Court would have the final word in any decisive way and any challenge would have to make its way through the usual court process, legal experts say.
(Reporting by Steve Holland, Doina Chiacu, Tom Hals, Karen Freifeld, Julia Harte, Jan Wolfe, Daphne Psaledakis and Lawrence Hurley; Writing by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Noeleen Walder, Sonya Hepinstall and Peter Cooney)