WASHINGTON

A Michigan appeals court judge denied US President Donald Trump’s attempt Thursday to halt vote counting in the pivotal state on allegations Republicans were not granted access to view the counting of absentee ballots.

Judge Cynthia Stephens said the suit was filed too late, after ballots had already largely been counted, and was filed against the wrong defendant. The campaign had sued Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.

“In this instance, where the issue is the day-to-day conduct of a vote count, the individuals who bear that responsibility, absent the secretary of state removing them from their responsibility because of misfeasance of malfeasance, lies with the local election officials,” she said during a virtual hearing. “The relief that is being requested in substantial part is completely unavailable through the secretary of state.”

Stephens said she will issue a written order after the hearing, but said it would not be available Thursday.

Democratic challenger Joe Biden has been declared the victor in Michigan by The Associated Press. It is one of three states Trump won in 2016, but which have been called for the former vice president.

Biden is on the verge of victory, just six delegates short of the necessary 270 Electoral College votes to win the presidency. Trump, while still competitive, has far more delegates to accrue, currently standing at 214, according to the AP.

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