Trump campaign to run ads promoting effort to overturn election

Mr Donald Trump and the Republican Party have raised about US$208 million since the election. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - President Donald Trump's campaign plans to buy ads on unspecified cable television networks to promote his effort to overturn the election he lost, highlighting claims that have been refuted by elections officials and dismissed by judges across the country.

One commercial claims that mail-in ballots were "a recipe for fraud" and urges viewers to "contact your legislators today".

Mr Trump has sought to persuade Republican state lawmakers in several battleground states to override voters and award him their states' Electoral College votes.

The campaign did not say in a release how much it would spend on the ads or which networks would run them. Mr Trump and the Republican Party have raised about US$208 million (S$278 million) since the election. The campaign didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday (Dec 11) evening.

One ad shows footage of ballots being pulled from under a table at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, where ballots were counted as a narrator decries "suitcases of ballots added in secret in Georgia".

But Georgia's Republican election system manager Gabriel Sterling has said the "suitcases" were standard ballot-handling boxes and that the video was innocent. The entire video shows election workers had been preparing to go home and had packed up uncounted ballots for the night, before being told they had to stay and keep counting, Mr Sterling has said.

The commercial also highlights "poll watchers denied access in Pennsylvania", part of the Trump campaign's complaint that Republican observers weren't allowed to monitor the counting of mail-in ballots in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Yet Republicans never provided evidence of actual fraud that would justify invalidating legally cast votes, just complaints that observers were kept too far away. While observers were kept behind barriers at a distance in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the state's elections code doesn't specify how close they are allowed and that county officials have discretion in setting the limit.

The president and his allies have failed in courts across the country to convince judges that their claims of a fraudulent election have merit. Attorney General William Barr has said the Department of Justice hasn't seen evidence of widespread fraud in the election.

On Friday night, the US Supreme Court rejected a bid by Texas and Mr Trump to nullify the election results in four pivotal states.

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