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Lawsuits & Litigation

Trump Campaign Files Lawsuit Against Pennsylvania in Bid to Stop Use of Mail Ballot Drop Boxes

— July 5, 2020

The Trump campaign claims that “unmonitored” drop boxes encourages fraud.

The Trump campaign is suing Pennsylvania and its county-level election officials for its use of mail ballot drop boxes.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Trump’s re-election campaign believes drop boxes enable voter fraud. They claim that Pennsylvania’s use of such drop boxes in the June 2nd primary was unconstitutional, and wants a federal court to block their use in the November general elections.

“Defendants have sacrificed the sanctity of in-person voting at the altar of unmonitored mail-in voting and have exponentially enhanced the threat that fraudulent or otherwise ineligible ballots will be cast and counted in the forthcoming general election,” the lawsuit states.

According to the Inquirer, the lawsuit also claims that mail ballot drop boxes violate state and federal law, insofar as they provide for a form of voting not necessarily allowed by law. Furthermore, the lawsuit argues that Pennsylvania’s rules for drop box voting are inconsistent, with different jurisdictions held to different standards.

President Donald Trump, along with his campaign, has been a vociferous critic of mail-in and drop box voting. Even as a candidate in 2016, Trump maligned different forms of remote voting, saying they enable fraud.

“Permitting absentee and mail-in ballots of nondisabled electors to be collected at locations other than the offices of the county boards of elections and/or through ‘drop boxes’ and other unmonitored and/or unsecured means and to be counted when not cast in the manner mandated by the Election Code allows illegal absent and mail-in voting, ballot harvesting, and other fraud to occur and/or go undetected, and will result in dilution of validly cast ballots,” the lawsuit states.

A picture of President Trump. Image via Flickr/user:Gage Skidmore. (CCA-BY-2.0).

The complaint also alleges that Pennsylvania, during the June primary, broke its own rules, counting absentee votes sent with standard mail envelopes rather than “secrecy envelopes.”

And, along with fraud, the Trump campaign believes another problem with absentee voting is the potential for miscounts. WPXI notes that the suit repeatedly cites Allegheny County as exemplary of drop box flaws; some voters, says WPXI, were sent multiple ballots because of flaws in the Pennsylvania’s computer systems.

Jenna Ellis, a senior legal adviser for Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., said that Democrats are trying to politicize “election integrity” by pushing remote voting on a large scale.

“Election integrity should not be a partisan issue, yet Democrats are consistently trying to cheat and manipulate election rules to undermine safeguards and security around the November election,” Ellis said. “President Trump is firmly committed to ensuring that every eligible person has the opportunity to vote once and that Americans’ votes are not diluted by fraud in new systems Democrats are trying to hastily push on the American people.”

Sinceré Harris, executive director of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, said President Trump’s campaign is, instead, pulling all stops to ensure a lower voter turnout.

“Donald Trump and Washington Republicans are trying to suppress the voices of Pennsylvanians because they know the easier it is for everyday people to vote, the more likely it is that they will lose,” Harris said.

President Trump won Pennsylvania in 2016 by less than 1% of the overall vote.


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