Alexander Macris explains how a federal court might consider Trump's election fraud claims based on Donohue v. Board of Elections of State of New York, 435 F. Supp. 957 (E.D.N.Y. 1976). Donohue was a federal district court case in New York that isn't binding on any other district court, much less the Supreme Court, but the decision outlines some pretty logical considerations. In short:

The Donohue court has thus laid out the legal test that the plaintiff must meet. He must plead and prove

1. specific acts of misconduct,

2. involving 'willful or knowing' ballot fraud,

3. by state officials or private persons acting jointly with state officials,

4. that changed the outcome of the election.

This is a heavy burden. The Trump campaign will have to work hard to meet this test. But it is a matter of fact and evidence.

The district court ruled against the plaintiff (President Ford) in Donohue for a few reasons:

First, they didn't show that the irregularities were willful acts of misconduct by state officials. Second, the particular 'irregularity' they showed didn't really prove fraud; there were other inferences that were plausible. Third, they didn't establish that the irregularities actually were irregularities in Carter's favor! They showed a pattern of irregular votes, but didn't show that those irregular votes were for Jimmy. Fourth, they didn't offer any independent evidence to buttress their statistical analysis - no witnesses came forward to allege state officials had acted wrongly, for instance. Finally, they didn't show enough irregularity to change the outcome. So the Ford campaign lost its case on the facts, not on the law. They had a case, but didn't have the evidence.

Trump's lawyers are certainly familiar with the case law, so watch for them to build their case(s) around these four points.

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