Trump Campaign Files Suit, Urges Judge to Block Pennsylvania From Certifying Election Results

By Jack Phillips

The Trump campaign on Nov. 15 called on a judge in Pennsylvania to block the state from certifying Democratic nominee Joe Biden as the winner of the election, saying there’s evidence voters were allowed to correct problems with their ballots.

“Unless Bush v. Gore was much ado about nothing, presidential candidates of course have an interest in having lawful votes for them counted and unlawful votes for their opponent invalidated,” the filing said. “That’s particularly true in Pennsylvania, one of a few swing states where recounts or other litigation is ongoing and where the vote margin is close.”

Campaign lawyer Linda Kerns made the filing in a federal court. It named about six counties in the Keystone State, alleging that those county officials illegally allowed voters to use deficient ballots to cast replacement absentee mail-in ballots ahead of the Nov. 3 election or provisional ballots cast on Election Day to “cure” errors.

Bloomberg News first reported on the suit on Nov. 15.

The campaign is attempting to block the state from certifying nearly 700,000 mail-in votes from the most populous counties, including Pittsburgh and Philadelphia—which lean heavily Democratic.

A hearing on the motion to dismiss the lawsuit is slated for Nov. 17. A separate evidentiary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 19, and U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann—an appointee of former President Barack Obama—will decide the case.

Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Bloomberg reported that it was unable to obtain a comment from Democratic Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office.

In a previous statement regarding another one of Trump’s lawsuits, Boockvar denied there were any irregularities.

“The voters of Pennsylvania have spoken,” Boockvar’s lawyers wrote. “The Court should deny Plaintiffs’ desperate and unfounded attempt to interfere” with the vote-counting process, they claimed.

The lawsuit that was filed Nov. 15 made reference to Lancaster County and several others, saying the county was an example of how an election should be carried out.

“Lancaster, York, Westmoreland, and Berks Counties, for example, did not contact voters who submitted defective ballots or give them an opportunity to cure. They simply followed the law and treated these ballots as invalid and refused to count them,” the suit says. Those four counties went for Trump over Biden.

“Because the counties that followed state law and did not provide a cure process are heavily Republican (and counties that violated state law and did provide a cure process are heavily Democratic), Defendants’ conduct harmed the Trump Campaign. It deprived the President of lawful votes and awarded his opponent with unlawful votes,” the suit contends.

A plaintiff in the case, John Henry, described as a voter, said his defective vote was considered different than that of voters in other counties. He alleged that it violated the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause.

“In other words, Henry cast a defective ballot that was not counted, but another Pennsylvania voter in another county could cast the same defective ballot and have his vote counted—solely based on place of residence,” the campaign said. “The Defendant counties’ insistence upon counting illegal ballots disparately favored Democratic-leaning counties over Republican-leaning counties.”

The suit also alleged that poll watchers and canvass representatives were treated unfairly or were not allowed to be present “when the required declarations on envelopes containing official absentee and mail-in ballots are reviewed for sufficiency, when the ballot envelopes are opened, and when such ballots are counted and recorded.”

In some areas, it was “physically impossible” to view ballots or envelopes, the campaign said.

Trump’s campaign then called on the judge to issue an emergency order to prohibit defendants from certifying the results of the election over the irregularities and discrepancies.

The suit added, “Plaintiffs seek an emergency order prohibiting defendants from certifying the results of the General Election. In the alternative, Plaintiffs seek an emergency order prohibiting Defendants from certifying any results from the General Election that included the tabulation of absentee and mail-in ballots which do not comply with the Election Code, including, without limitation, the tabulation of absentee and mail-in ballots Trump Campaign’s watchers were prevented from observing or based on the tabulation of invalidly cast absentee and mail-in ballots.”

All 67 counties in Pennsylvania have to certify their election results by Nov. 23. Last week, Boockvar said she won’t order a recount.

The lawsuit is part of the case: Donald J. Trump For President Inc. v. Boockvar, 4:20-cv-02078, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania (Williamsport).

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