11/18 Daily Update: The Beat Goes On

Published: 11.18.20

Fifteen days past Election Day,  a steady stream of attacks on the integrity of the election persists, as does a strong response to defend the will of the people. Today, the Trump campaign filed its petition for a recount in Wisconsin’s  Milwaukee and Dane counties; articles painted GSA Administrator Emily Murphy (who has yet to permit the presidential transition to commence) as beleaguered; and national news outlets called out the Trump campaign for its attempts to suppress Black voters.

Here’s your update:

Key Vote Counting Deadlines in Battleground States

As a rule, a state’s election results are complete after all counties complete their counts and state-level officials formally count and certify the statewide results. The state-level officials’ count is sometimes called a “canvass,” and the state-level official who is responsible for finalizing the results depends on the state. States will try to complete their counts this year before Dec. 8, with electors set to meet and vote for president on Dec.14.


  • 11/23: Counties complete their canvasses
  • 11/30: Secretary of State formally canvasses returns and completes the statewide count


  • 11/19:  Secretary of State anticipates releasing results of statewide manual audit
  • 11/20: Secretary of State must certify the results of the count


  • 11/23: Last day for the Board of State Canvassers to meet and certify the statewide result


  • 11/24: Supreme Court meets with the Secretary of State to canvass the vote and finalize the formal results


  • 11/23: Last day for county boards of elections to complete their counts
  • Pennsylvania has no deadline for certifying the statewide count


  • 11/18: Deadline for a candidate to request a recount
  • 12/1: Last day for chairperson of Wisconsin Elections Commission to certify results

Social Media

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Here is our most recent social media toolkit, reflecting our latest messaging and guidance.

National News

Voter Suppression:  As the Trump campaign singles out racially diverse counties to initiate vote recounts, Mother Jones argues that it is part of the campaign’s broader legal strategy to challenge votes in heavily Democratic cities with large concentrations of Black voters, like Detroit, Milwaukee, and Philadelphia. By this logic, the Trump team’s decision today to  petition for a recount of votes in Wisconsin’s Milwaukee and Dane counties is no coincidence.  Buzzfeed notes that, not only were Milwaukee and Dane counties among the strongest Biden-leaning counties in the state, but they are also home to  the majority of the state’s Black population, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

Consequence for Graham Calls: Today, three top ethics experts and prominent critics of President Trump formally asked the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate whether Senator Lindsey Graham  violated the chamber’s rules in his probe over how mail-in voting was conducted in the 2020 presidential election. The complaint was filed by Walter Shaub, a former top ethics watchdog for the federal government, Richard Painter, the chief ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush’s administration, and Claire Finkelstein, the director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law. Read more here.

State Updates

Arizona: Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs released a statement in response to ongoing and escalating threats of violence directed at her family and her office. She called on elected leaders to stop “perpetuating misinformation.” She called, in particular, for “the governor, whose deafening silence has contributed to the growing unrest, to stand up for the truth.”

Georgia:  Absentee ballots are due today for the January 5th Senate run-off election. In other news, ProPublica reports that Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger rejected repeated demands to endorse Trump. As the official overseeing the voting, he believed he should remain neutral.

Michigan:  President Trump falsely claimed Wednesday there were more votes than people in the city of Detroit. There are 670,000 people living in Detroit, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent estimate; the city shows that 250,138 residents voted in the 2020 Election.

Pennsylvania: Attorneys representingPresident Trump’sre-election campaign in challenging thousands of ballots in Bucks County, Pennsylvania agreed to sign court documents on Wednesday informing the court that there was no evidence of fraud or misconduct pertaining to those ballots.

Wisconsin: President Trump is seeking a recount of ballots in Dane and Milwaukee counties, hoping to overturn the state election results in his favor, despite those voters choosing President-elect Joe Biden by wide margins. Both counties are Democratic strongholds. You can read the petition here.

Legal Corner

We will be back with Legal Corner updates tomorrow!