The campaign of President and 1968 Wharton graduate Donald Trump has dropped a key request from its lawsuit to prevent the Pennsylvania election results from being certified.
The case previously centered around Trump's claim that 682,479 mail-in and absentee ballots should be invalidated because the campaign’s poll watchers were denied access to ballot processing. Now, the campaign says the altered suit will focus on alleged violations of the U.S. Constitution's Equal Protection Clause.
The restructured lawsuit claims that while officials in Democratic-leaning counties helped voters to “cure” mail-in ballots – alerting them if their votes were at risk of being disqualified because of technicalities –Republican-leaning county officials didn’t offer this opportunity, rendering the case one of unequal treatment.
Potential errors include “naked ballots," ballots returned without the required secrecy envelope, and ballots missing a voter signature. The Pennsylvania Department of State left the issue of how aggressively counties should notify voters with flawed ballots open to interpretation, which led to variance between counties in how voters were contacted, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Kathy Boockvar, the Secretary of State of Pennsylvania, asked for the case to be dismissed due to a lack of evidence, WHYY reported. This echoes sentiments expressed by Penn’s legal experts, who characterized the Trump campaign’s lawsuits and attack against election certification as “frivolous.”
Additionally, legal experts say that the number of ballots affected by this new central claim would be far from enough to change Pennsylvania election results. As of Nov. 17, Biden leads Trump in Pa. by around 73,000 votes, according to the AP. Democratic attorney Cliff Levine told The Washington Post that the “handful” of ballots “would have absolutely no impact on the total count or on Joe Biden’s win over Donald Trump."
The Pennsylvania lawsuit is one of many legal challenges by the Trump campaign to prevent election certification. These efforts target other swing states such as Wisconsin and Michigan, and similar cases have already been overturned. For example, a Michigan judge denied a request to stop counting absentee ballots that claimed poll watchers were unable to watch the process.
Pennsylvania, which helped put Biden over the 270 electoral vote threshold, has been a frequent Trump campaign target. Trump's criticisms of Pennsylvania voting date back to the first 2020 Presidential Debate, when Trump claimed poll watchers hadn’t been allowed in voting sites – yet at the time, no Philadelphia watchers were yet certified, and the sites in question were satellite election offices, The Inquirer reported.
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