WASHINGTON—With Democrat Joseph Biden holding a narrow lead the morning after the election and President Donald Trump demanding “we want all voting to stop,” labor-union leaders called for waiting until every ballot is counted.
“We may need to wait longer than usual for a result. We must be patient and make sure that every eligible ballot is counted accurately,” Communications Workers of America President Chris Shelton said in a statement. “In the coming days, we may see attempts to stop the vote count or otherwise interfere from those who are desperate to win at all costs. That’s unacceptable. Election officials must be allowed to fulfill their responsibility to count and verify every ballot in order to uphold our democracy.”
The call to wait for a complete count united AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Thomas J. Donohue. “It is imperative that election officials be given the space and time to count every vote in accordance with applicable laws,” they said in a joint statement with National Association of Evangelicals President Walter Kim and National African American Clergy Network Co-Convener Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner. “Although we may not always agree on desired outcomes up and down the ballot, we are united in our call for the American democratic process to proceed without violence, intimidation, or any other tactic that makes us weaker as a nation.”
In returns available as of 2 p.m. Nov. 4, Biden had tallied almost 3 million more total votes than Trump nationwide, and held narrow leads in four states—Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, and Wisconsin—that would be enough to bring him 271 electoral votes. With mainly mail-in ballots remaining to be counted, his margins in those states ranged from about 8,000 in Nevada to 93,000 in Arizona.
Trump led by about 77,000 votes in North Carolina, 83,000 in Georgia, and 399,000 in Pennsylvania, with thousands of ballots still uncounted, according to ABC News returns. There were about 300,000 ballots outstanding in overwhelmingly Democratic Philadelphia, and Pennsylvania will count mail-in ballots postmarked by Election Day if they arrive by Nov. 6. In North Carolina, they will be counted if they arrive by Nov. 12.
“This is a fraud on the American public. This is an embarrassment to our country. We were getting ready to win this election, frankly we did win this election,” Trump claimed in a White House appearance at 2:30 a.m., after the polls closed. “We will be going to the U.S. Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop. We don’t want them to find any ballots at 4 o’clock in the morning and add them to the list.”
He accused an unnamed “very sad group of people” of trying to disenfranchise his voters, because “they knew they couldn’t win, so they said, let’s go to court.”
The Supreme Court on Oct. 28 refused to bar Pennsylvania and North Carolina from accepting ballots after Election Day. The two states had extended their deadlines because of a record number of requests for mail-in ballots during the COVID-19 epidemic and delays in mail delivery. Republicans may still sue to prevent ballots received after Election Day from being counted, using the “originalist” argument that neither state courts nor executive branches can set regulations for elections, because the Constitution gave state legislatures that power.
“For more than a year, Trump has been setting the stage to contest the outcome of the election,” the Office and Professional Employees International Union responded. “Our union will join the effort to monitor the situation in key states, particularly those with governors with a demonstrated track record of voter suppression and strong-arming.”
“The vote count will determine the winner of this election, not politicians declaring victory,” said 32BJ SEIU President Kyle Bragg. “When the President has repeatedly announced that he will refuse to accept the results of this election, he has shown a basic misunderstanding of what makes our country great—we, the people, choose who leads us.”