Donald Trump’s campaign is returning to a Wisconsin court to argue for the state’s election results to be overturned, with the electoral college vote just three days away and a sceptical federal judge nearing a ruling on a similar case.
Mr Trump was pushing to overturn Joe Biden’s narrow win in Wisconsin with both a state and federal lawsuit in courts there, as part of a broader lawsuit filed with the US Supreme Court by the Texas attorney general.
The president’s lawyers have pushed for swift resolution given that Biden electors in Wisconsin and across the country are to cast their votes on Monday.
Mr Trump and his allies have suffered a string of defeats in Wisconsin and across the country as they have put forward lawsuits that rely on unsubstantiated claims of widespread fraud and election abuse.
A Trump-appointed federal judge in Wisconsin said on Thursday that the president’s lawsuit was “incredible,” “bizarre” and “very odd”, and asking to overturn the results would be “the most remarkable ruling in the history of this court or the federal judiciary”.
US District Judge Brett Ludwig promised to issue his ruling as soon as Friday.
Meanwhile in state court, Trump lawyers were arguing for the disqualification of more than 221,000 ballots cast in Milwaukee and Dane counties.
Those are Wisconsin’s two most heavily Democratic counties and the only ones where Mr Trump sought a recount. He is not challenging any ballots cast in counties he won.
Mr Biden won the state by nearly 21,000 votes, a margin of 0.6%.
Mr Trump wants to disqualify absentee ballots cast early and in-person, saying there was not a proper written request made for the ballots; absentee ballots cast by people who claimed “indefinitely confined” status; absentee ballots collected by poll workers at Madison parks; and absentee ballots where clerks filled in missing information on ballot envelopes.
Lawyers for Democratic governor Tony Evers and the state’s bipartisan elections commission have called Mr Trump’s claims ludicrous, without evidence, filed too late and an attempt to disenfranchise the state’s 3.3 million voters.
If he loses in state court, he can seek an appeal before the conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court. That court previously refused to hear his case before it went through the lower courts.
A majority of justices have also openly questioned whether disqualifying the ballots would be appropriate.