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Pro­testors gather outside a polling location. Caleb Lam­brecht | Collegian

The Trump cam­paign is con­testing the results of Michigan’s pre­lim­inary vote count in the wake of con­tro­versial devel­op­ments in several of the state’s counties after The Asso­ciated Press and other news outlets declared Demo­c­ratic pres­i­dential nominee Joe Biden the winner of Michigan Wednesday night, a key bat­tle­ground state that could determine the winner of the 2020 pres­i­dential election. 

Biden pulled ahead of Trump in Michigan around 9 a.m. Wednesday as votes started to come in from the most Demo­c­ratic county in the state, Wayne County, which encom­passes the city of Detroit. In a Wednesday morning tweet, Trump alleged foul play.

“Last night I was leading, often solidly, in many key States, in almost all instances Democrat run & con­trolled. Then, one by one, they started to mag­i­cally dis­appear as sur­prise ballot dumps were counted. VERY STRANGE, and the “poll­sters” got it com­pletely & his­tor­i­cally wrong!”

The out­comes across Michigan prompted the Trump cam­paign to file a lawsuit in the Michigan Court of Claims con­testing the state’s pre­lim­inary voting results, which it announced in a statement Wednesday around noon.

“Pres­ident Trump’s cam­paign has not been pro­vided with mean­ingful access to numerous counting loca­tions to observe the opening of ballots and the counting process, as guar­anteed by Michigan law,” Trump 2020 Cam­paign Manager Bill Stepien said in the statement. “We have filed suit today in the Michigan Court of Claims to halt counting until mean­ingful access has been granted. Pres­ident Trump is com­mitted to ensuring that all legal votes are counted in Michigan and every­where else.”

Hillsdale College Pro­fessor of Pol­itics Thomas West said that while uncon­firmed, he is wary of Michigan’s counts.

“I got the same news everyone else got, which is that there’s a sudden and absolutely amazing jump in the number of Biden votes in a way that makes you wonder, ‘is there fraud involved here?’” West said. 

He said this sur­prising “ballot dump” has caused him to question the accuracy of the ballot count.

“The sus­picion that I would have, based on what the Democrats have been saying quite pub­licly, which is that they are going to win this election no matter what, is that there’s likely to be fraud involved,” West said.

Lec­turer in Pol­itics Bruno Cortes said the surge of votes in Michigan was noteworthy.

“The cumu­lative cir­cum­stances under which these ballots are now being counted is highly sus­pi­cious, espe­cially when every error seems to be in Biden’s favor,” Cortes said. “The delay partly has to do with election laws in those states, which pro­hibit counting absentee ballots before Election Day. But the pos­session of those ballots should have been accounted for prior to Election Day. In other words, you don’t just ‘find ballots’ during an election.”

Cortes said he can’t recall a moment in history where “ballot dumping” occurred on such a large scale.

“This is all irregular,” he said. “I presume some of it can be attributed to absentee ballots. But there is a reason that elec­tions have dead­lines: to avoid sit­u­a­tions like these, which invite corruption.”

On Election Day, Trump said his cam­paign would act to freeze mass counting of mail-in ballots.

“We want the law to be used in a proper manner, so we’ll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop,” Trump said. “We don’t want them finding any ballots at four in the morning and adding them to the list.”

The Biden cam­paign released a statement early Wednesday morning in retal­i­ation, claiming the campaign’s legal team was “standing by, ready to deploy to resist that effort.” 

West expressed concern that voters wouldn’t approach the issue with suf­fi­cient skepticism.

“We shouldn’t do what Nixon did in 1960. Nixon knew the Democrats had cheated in two states to put Kennedy over the top in Illinois and Texas,” West said. “He knew that, his people knew that, and he decided to not chal­lenge Kennedy on the grounds that ‘we have a con­sti­tu­tional republic, and we want the public to remain con­fident this is fine.’”

West said he expected that the issue of mail-in ballots would go to the Supreme Court — but hopes that the election will remain fair with legal intervention.

According to Cortes, Trump is still on track to win the pres­i­dency. Despite the outcome of the election, he said that voter fraud should be addressed seriously.

“Voter fraud has always been a thing,” Cortes said. “The only question: what are we going to do about it? Keep fighting. Trump can contest and will. He already has his teams ready.”

Caleb Lam­brecht con­tributed to this report.