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2020 election lawsuits brought by Republicans more likely to win than Democrat cases, data shows

“Conservatives were reacting to policies” issued by government officials with their lawsuits, while “the left was trying to shape the election through litigation,” Phill Kline said. Republicans and right-leaning plaintiffs won 24% of their cases, while Democratic and left-leaning plaintiffs only won 18%.

Published: December 16, 2023 11:41pm

A greater percentage of 2020 election cases brought by Republicans were won on merit than cases brought by Democrats, according to an analysis of more than 400 cases by The Amistad Project, an election integrity watchdog. 

Republicans concerned about 2020 voting irregularities have been repeatedly called "election deniers" by Democrats and their media allies as GOP plaintiffs have brought legal challenges regarding how elections were conducted across the U.S. 

Media outlets — including TimeReuters, the Associated Press and NBC News — routinely employ the slur "election denier" in their reporting, attributing the term specifically to any Republicans who questioned, challenged, contested, or denied the 2020 election outcome. 

However, scores of leading Democrats, including Georgia's Stacy Abrams, Hillary Clinton, and most infamously, Al Gore, have themselves repeatedly asserted that elections were "stolen" or "illegitimate" and went as far as attempting to change the outcome of presidential elections by objecting to the certification of state electoral college votes. Yet, Democrats appear to not receive the "election denier" label from the media as do Republicans.

While both Republicans and Democrats filed lawsuits regarding the 2020 election, Republicans proportionately won more cases than Democrats, who sued to change election laws before November 2020.  

In September 2022, The Amistad Project reviewed more than 400 cases and found that a greater percentage of lawsuits brought by Republicans were won on the merits than those brought by Democrats.

According to data provided by The Amistad Project and a review by Just the News of cases that have been decided since the watchdog’s report was completed last year, Republicans and right-leaning plaintiffs won 24% of their cases, lost 31% on the merits, and lost 45% on procedural grounds. In total, 32 cases were won, 41 lost on the merits, and 59 lost on procedural grounds. 

For Democratic and left-leaning plaintiffs, 18% of cases were won, 40% lost on the merits, and 42% lost on procedural grounds. In total, 33 cases were won, 72 lost on the merits, and 75 lost on procedural grounds. 

The remaining cases were brought by independent parties, those that didn’t have an obvious party affiliation, or state plaintiffs.

Phill Kline, director of The Amistad Project, told Just the News Thursday that “conservatives were reacting to policies” issued by government officials with their lawsuits, while “the left was trying to shape the election through litigation.” 

As a result, Democratic lawsuits occurred earlier in 2020, while those brought by Republicans were later. 

For example, 2020 election guidance issued by Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) on signature verification was found by a state court to violate the state’s Administrative Procedures Act. The lawsuit wasn’t filed until January 2021 and decided by the court in March 2021. 

On the other hand, a case brought in August 2019 by left-leaning organizations challenged Texas’ signature verification procedures for absentee ballots, but the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled for the state less than a month before the November 2020 election. 

Overall, Republicans brought fewer cases to court than Democrats regarding the 2020 election, according to The Amistad Project's report. However, Republicans also proportionately lost fewer cases on merits than Democrats did. 


Procedural losses occurred because the lawsuits were not filed in time, the court ruled the plaintiffs didn’t have standing, the case was moot, or the lawsuit was brought to the wrong jurisdiction. However, cases lost on the merits are where the courts ruled against the plaintiffs after hearing their arguments and deciding the law provided no remedy on the asserted facts, or that the facts asserted did not prove their case. 

Kline told Just the News that in examining cases decided on the merits, “conservatives won more often than liberals.”   

He explained that cases dismissed on procedural grounds were “exploited by the left.” For instance, when illegal election guidance was issued and brought to court, it would be rescinded before the court could make a decision. However, the guidance would then be reissued for the next election, resulting in the litigation starting over again. 

It’s “untrue to claim that courts have rejected concerns about 2020 election,” Kline said.   

Laws were broken “that make it difficult for an election challenge to prevail because it prevents access or documentation of the impact of breaking the law,” he later added. 

For example, broken chain of custody for ballots or failure to have observers review election workers copying damaged ballots onto new ballots makes it difficult to ensure that ballots weren’t changed, thrown out or added. 

“The way the 2020 election was run made it impossible for whatever party concerned about results to see the impact of those unlawful decisions before time expired” to bring an election challenge, Kline said. 

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