President Donald Trump has falsely claimed there were widespread abuses against his poll watchers across the country, and is using these false allegations to dispute the election results.
He and his surrogates have pushed several variations of this claim in the last few days, ramping up their rhetoric as Democratic nominee Joe Biden gets close to victory.
“The OBSERVERS were not allowed, in any way, shape, or form, to do their job and therefore, votes accepted during this period must be determined to be ILLEGAL,” Trump tweeted Friday morning, a post that Twitter hid and labeled as part of its policy against election disinformation.
Facts First: Trump’s claims are completely false. There have been no reports of systematic irregularities with poll watchers anywhere in the US. There is no evidence supporting the President’s claims that GOP poll watchers were shut out of the process, and Trump’s campaign still hasn’t backed up this broad claim in court.
CNN has reporters across the country following developments at polling places on Election Day and the ongoing vote-counting process, and saw nothing resembling Trump’s allegations.
Here’s is a breakdown of what happened in key states.
The race is still close in Arizona. Biden is leading, though Trump is narrowing the margin. Pro-Trump demonstrations erupted outside election offices this week, where many protesters echoed Trump’s false claims about irregularities.
CNN visited four polling locations in Phoenix during the early-voting period and saw Republican and Democratic observers at all of them. On Election Day, CNN saw accredited poll observers with clipboards at polling places including the GOP stronghold city of Surprise, as well as the heavily Latino and blue-leaning city of Tolleson.
David Eppihimer, the Arizona GOP chairman for blue-leaning Pima County, said his party had about 300 observers at polling and counting locations on Election Day. “Things went pretty smoothly,” he said on Friday.
Overnight, Biden took the lead in Georgia as more mail ballots were tallied.
As election workers in Clayton County finished counting a very Biden-friendly batch of absentee ballots late on Thursday night, there were nearly as many GOP observers in the room as election workers, according to CNN reporters who were also in the room during the vote count.
Additionally, Gabriel Sterling, Georgia’s voting system implementation manager, said Friday at a news conference that the state is “not seeing any widespread irregularities.”
There were at least 256 Democratic poll challengers and 225 Republican poll challengers inside Detroit’s TCF Center on Wednesday while election workers counted the last absentee ballots, officials told CNN. There were so many poll challengers from both sides that officials were worried about overcrowding.
At a Thursday night news conference, Trump made several false and misleading claims about supposed irregularities with poll watchers in Detroit. CNN already fact-checked these claims.
The Trump campaign filed a lawsuit in state court challenging the poll-watcher process, but it disputed only a tiny pool of about 90 ballots. Regardless, a judge dismissed the lawsuit on Thursday.
CNN projected on Wednesday that Biden will win Michigan.
After trailing in the state all week due to a slow vote count, Biden took the lead on Friday.
Trump campaign lawyers claimed in lawsuits that GOP poll observers hadn’t been allowed to watch ballot counting in Philadelphia or weren’t close enough to election workers in the room.
But at a court hearing Thursday, Trump’s lawyers admitted, and a federal judge confirmed, that this wasn’t true. The judge pressed Trump campaign lawyer Jerome Marcus to answer whether Trump observers were allowed in, and Marcus acknowledged, “There’s a non-zero number of people in the room.” City officials also told the judge there were Trump observers in the room.
There were poll observers from both parties present at multiple polling places CNN visited on Tuesday in Wisconsin.
At Milwaukee’s central count location, where volunteers tallied the remainder of the city’s roughly 169,000 absentee votes on Tuesday and Wednesday, the city allowed 15 Republican, 15 Democratic and 15 nonpartisan observers at any given time. Individual observers were swapped out throughout the day.
CNN projected on Wednesday that Biden will win Wisconsin.
CNN’s Katelyn Polantz and Jessica Schneider contributed to this story.