Donald Trump faced further Republican resistance to his attempt to overturn the results of the election on Monday as a Michigan board certified the state’s ballots and another GOP senator rejected his claims of widespread voter fraud.
Mr Trump’s options to challenge Joe Biden’s victories have been rapidly dwindling as states have moved to certify their results and courts have rejected his lawsuits, dealing blows to his strategy of using litigation and pressure on election officials to stay in office.
In Michigan, where a four-person bipartisan board certifies the election results, Mr Trump’s allies had hoped a deadlock would allow the Republican-controlled state legislature to step in and overturn Mr Biden’s win.
The Republican vice-chairman of the board of canvassers on Monday dashed those hopes, voting with two Democrats to affirm the more than 150,000 vote margin by which Mr Biden had won the state. The board voted 3-0, with the second Republican member abstaining.
“The board must respect the authority entrusted to it and follow the law as written . . . As John Adams once said, we are a government of laws, not men, and this board needs to adhere that principle here today,” said Aaron Van Langevelde, the vice-chairman, explaining that Michigan law gave him no discretion to vote otherwise.
His comments came as Shelley Moore Capito, the Republican senator from West Virginia, called on Mr Trump to begin the transition process and said there was “no indication” of any fraud that would overturn the results of the election.
“At some point, the 2020 election must end,” she said in a statement. The senator stopped short of stating that the moment for it to end was now, but said: “If states certify the results as they currently stand, vice-president Joe Biden will be our next president and Senator Kamala Harris will be our next vice-president.”
Elsewhere, in Pennsylvania, the state Supreme Court handed Mr Trump another defeat, rejecting his challenge to 8,329 ballots in Philadelphia while also dismissing a related challenge to ballots in Allegheny County brought by a Pennsylvania Republican.
“[F]ailures to include a handwritten name, address or date in the voter declaration on the back of the outer envelope, while constituting technical violations of the Election Code, do not warrant the wholesale disenfranchisement of thousands of Pennsylvania voters,” the court ruled.
Counties in Pennsylvania have a Monday deadline to certify their results to state officials, though a small number appeared set to miss that deadline. Mr Trump on Saturday lost a case that sought to block the certification process, but the Trump campaign has appealed.
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The setbacks for Mr Trump come as US business leaders turn up the pressure on the president to begin the transition to Mr Biden’s administration, warning that further delays threaten America’s attempts to control the public health and economic crises caused by Covid-19.
Larry Fink, chairman and chief executive of BlackRock, and David Solomon, chairman and chief executive of Goldman Sachs, joined more than 160 executives in voicing their concerns on Monday in a letter organised by the non-profit Partnership for New York City.