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Trump To Challenge Vote Counts In Key States

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

President Trump has made limited public appearances since Election Day on Tuesday, but his campaign has been working hard to try to convince courts to stop the count. They filed a flurry of lawsuits. The president says he's even prepared to take the fight to the Supreme Court. It remains unclear how any - or if any of this will happen.

NPR's Miles Parks covers voting. He joins us now to try and sketch out some of those legal challenges. Miles, thanks for being with us.

MILES PARKS, BYLINE: Good morning.

SIMON: And what is the latest on the lawsuits the Trump campaign has filed?

PARKS: It actually seems to be slowing down, you know, the later in the week after the election that we get. The biggest litigation news yesterday was this order from the U.S. Supreme Court to Pennsylvania election officials to do something with absentee ballots that they say they were already doing - if that gives you an idea of kind of the slowness of the litigation yesterday. The bottom line is that even though President Trump, you know, announced again yesterday that he wants to keep fighting through the legal system around this election, legal experts I've talked to say there's just not that much room for litigation at this point. Since there was so much legal wrangling before the voting started, most of the rules here have already been settled.

SIMON: The lawsuits filed - much impact so far?

PARKS: I wouldn't say so, but I do think it's important to define success here. If you define it by changing the rules in a way that actually affects election outcomes in a meaningful way, then they've had close to zero success. If you define success as changing the narrative of the election to maybe fit what President Trump is trying to say - to, like, push this idea of election fraud further into the conversation, then, you know, President Trump probably would see these lawsuits as successful.

SIMON: Let me ask you about recounts. It looks like some of the states that Joe Biden is projected to win have the potential for, I guess, legally mandated recounts. Can you walk us through some of those?

PARKS: Sure. So the big possibilities seem to be Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin and Arizona at this point. In Pennsylvania, a recount's automatically called if the race is within a half a percentage point, which it is right now, but it is very unclear whether it will stay there. Arizona would go to one if the margin's within .1%, which it isn't at this point. Georgia and Wisconsin do seem to be headed to recounts. The secretary of state of Georgia announced yesterday that that state would head to a recount. And in Wisconsin, the candidates have the option to request a recount if the race is within 1% which it is at this point. The Trump campaign has already said they want one.

SIMON: And based on history, what are the odds that a recount could change the victor?

PARKS: Very unlikely. We just almost never see these sorts of recounts affect results in a meaningful way. When it does happen, it's in places with very small margins - I'm talking hundreds of votes in most cases. So Georgia does seem like the most likely candidate that a recount could potentially make a difference. In a place like Wisconsin, it's probably moot. Even Scott Walker, the former Republican governor - he tweeted that 20,000 votes, the current margin in this race, is a high hurdle for a recount. A 2016 recount, for instance, there changed the vote count by only about 130 votes.

SIMON: NPR's Miles Parks, thanks so much.

PARKS: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.