US election: Trump calls for count to stop – potentially denying thousands of Suffolk postal votes
PUBLISHED: 09:31 04 November 2020 | UPDATED: 10:21 04 November 2020
Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
Some of the thousands of US airforce personnel in Suffolk could lose their votes in the Presidential election if Donald Trump is successful in his legal bid to block counting of mail-in votes in some states.
President Trump claimed victory in the election early today – and said his lawyers would try to persuade the Supreme Court to block late counting of “mail-in” ballots – known here as postal vote.
It is believed that his target was the states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin where he currently has a slight lead in the in-person votes – but where mail-in votes are due to be added later and are expected to favour Democratic Party challenger Joe Biden.
There are 4,500 US personnel at RAF Lakenheath and 2,500 at RAF Mildenhall in West Suffolk. US citizens living abroad – including those serving in the armed forces – are entitled to a mail-in vote for elections in their home states.
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So potentially votes from personnel on the bases which have been sent to their home states could be caught up in the legal challenge. The same would apply to American civilians working on the bases who used mail-in votes in their home states in the election.
The three “rust-belt” states were all won narrowly by Mr Trump four years ago – and if Mr Biden wins two of them he is likely to win the keys to the White House for the next four years.
Reilly Willis is a lecturer in law and American Studies at the University of Suffolk and said that there was nothing new in election results being decided by the Supreme Court.
She said: “That’s what happened in 2000 (when George W Bush beat Al Gore after disputed votes in Florida went to the court) so this is not something that is entirely new – but if the President wins this it would cost those who have mailed in their votes.
“I think the court will have to act quite quickly on this. The electoral college which formally elects the President meets in early December and it all has to be resolved by then.”
Ms Willis said the President was targeting the mail-in votes because they always tended to favour the Democrats while supporters of his Republican Party were more likely to vote in personn – which is why his party was ahead in the “swing states” before the mail in votes were added to the final totals.
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