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Trump campaign sues PA alleging ‘2-tiered’ voting system

President Donald J. Trump listens to Vice President Mike Pence. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)
November 10, 2020

President Donald Trump’s campaign sued Pennsylvania on Monday, alleging an illegal “two-tiered” voting system for the 2020 General Election. The lawsuit argues in-person voting adequately verified voters, while mail-in voting “lacked all of the hallmarks of transparency and verifiability that were present for in-person voters.”

In a statement addressing the lawsuit, the Trump campaign said Pennsylvania’s mail-in voting process, through which 2.65 million votes were processed, had several problems, including “not adequately verifying the voter’s identity, permitting ballots received up to three days after the election to be counted without any evidence of timely mailings, such as a postmark, and denying sufficient monitoring over the reviewing and counting of mail-in ballots.”

The lawsuit calls for an injunction to prevent the state of Pennsylvania from certifying its election results “which include the tabulation of absentee and mail-in ballots for which Plaintiffs’ watchers were prevented from observing during the pre-canvass and canvass in the County Election Boards.”

The Trump campaign’s lawsuit comes as Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden garnered 3,366,926 votes in the state to Trump’s 3,320,670, the difference of about .7 percentage points. Trump had led Biden in Pennsylvania’s vote count on election night and for several days after, but Biden eventually took the lead in votes. On Saturday, several news outlets projected Biden to win the state and its 20 electoral votes, projecting him beyond the 270 electoral vote threshold required to win the presidency.

Reacting to the lawsuit, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro tweeted, “(NOT) BREAKING: The Trump campaign’s latest filing is another attempt to throw out legal votes — my team and I were already prepared for this. Sleep tight. We will protect the laws of our Commonwealth and the will of the people.”

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The Trump campaign’s lawsuit names Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Kathy Boockvar and then county board of elections for Allegheny, Centre, Chester, Delaware, Philadelphia, Montgomery, and Northampton counties.

Many voters also received unsolicited mail-in ballots, according to the lawsuit, and in some cases were told when they went to vote in-person, that they had to instead vote by mail. In cases where voters chose to vote in-person, the lawsuit raises further concerns about Pennsylvania’s requirement for those voting in-person to spoil their mail-in ballot at their polling place on election day and to then vote in-person.

“Across numerous counties, poll watchers observed poll workers mishandling spoiled mail-in or absentee ballots brought to the polling place by voters who intended to vote in-person,” the lawsuit states. “Rather than disposing of the spoiled ballots securely, the spoiled ballots were instead placed in unsecured boxes or in stacks of paper despite the protests of voters or poll watchers. For instance in Centre County, a poll worker observed mail-in ballots being improperly spoiled. The workers placed the mail-in ballots returned to the polling place by in-person voters in a bag without writing ‘void’ on them or otherwise destroying them.”

The lawsuit further alleges poll workers in Centre County witnessed people arriving at polling stations in the county and admitting they were New Jersey voters, but were given provisional ballots to vote in Pennsylvania.

In Chester County, the lawsuit alleges an observer witnessed issues with an election worker responsible for resolving over-voted ballots; an instance where more than the permitted number of candidates are selected in a race. The lawsuit alleges the election worker altered the over-voted ballot by changing votes that had been marked for Donald J. Trump to another candidate.

In Delaware county, the lawsuit alleges votes were counted in a back room where observer access was limited.

The lawsuit also alleges that “Democratic-heavy counties engaged in pre-canvass activities prior to November 3, 2020, by reviewing received mail-in ballots for deficiencies, such as lacking the inner secrecy envelope or lacking a signature of the elector on the outer declaration envelope.”

The lawsuit alleges that Democratic-leaning counties engaging in pre-canvassing activities would reach out to voters to “cure” the deficiencies found on their ballots, while “Republican-heavy counties followed the law and did not provide a notice and cure process, disenfranchising those that themselves complied with the Election Code to case legal votes.”

The Pennsylvania lawsuit is one of a number filed by the Trump campaign since election day. Over the weekend, the campaign filed a lawsuit in Arizona, alleging problems with vote tabulating machines and subsequent flawed instructions by poll workers led to numerous votes being rejected without an appropriate process to review the rejected ballots.