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Lawsuits & Litigation

Trump’s Re-Election Campaign Drops Central Request in Pennsylvania Voting Lawsuit

— November 18, 2020

President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign has dropped a central request in its lawsuit against Pennsylvania.

According to The Associated Press, the Trump campaign has been actively seeking to prevent Pennsylvania from certifying its election results. But on Sunday, the campaign’s attorneys decided to discard a request that the state be obliged to discard some 682,000 absentee and mail-in ballots they claimed had been processed without proper oversight.

Despite the omission, the campaign is still hoping that continued litigation can prevent President-Elect Joe Biden from claiming victory in Pennsylvania.

To that end, conservative attorneys hope to block the state from certifying its results while establishing that Democratic voters were somehow treated more favorably than their right-wing counterparts. The Trump campaign has also replaced its leading legal counsel on the case, replacing Philadelphia-based attorney Linda Kerns with Marc Scaringi of Harrisburg, PA.

But even with the change in tactics, President Trump’s allies have insisted that he won Pennsylvania.

“Our lawsuit in Pennsylvania absolutely still makes an issue that 682,479 mail-in and absentee ballots that were counted in secret,” Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh wrote on Twitter.

A 2016 image of a ballot drop box in Boulder County, Colorado. Image via Wikimedia Commons via Flickr/user:pasa47 . (CCA-BY-2.0).

However, the campaign claims the changes in the lawsuit are “strategic” decisions meant to “restructure [the] lawsuit to rely on claims of violations of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”

The Associated Press notes that the 14th Amendment argument is no longer being applied to absentee ballots in bulk, but rather the claim that Pennsylvania illegally allowed voters the opportunity to correct ballots that would have otherwise been disqualified on technical grounds.

The Trump campaign alleges that voters in Democratic-leaning counties were given an opportunity to offer such corrected ballots, whereas voters in Republican-leaning counties were not.

But Cliff Levine, a lawyer representing the Democratic National Committee, said any ballots so affected are few in number—and not likely to make any difference to the outcome of the election, which Biden carried by some 70,000 votes.

“The numbers aren’t even close to the margin between the two candidates,” Levine said. “Not even close.”

Levin also said that there is nothing in state or federal law preventing counties from assisting voters in correcting mail-in ballots they may have made technical mistakes on.

The A.P. observes that none of Pennsylvania’s counties—including those which voted heavily in favor of Trump—have reported any suspected electoral fraud.

Some Trump supporters say that may be due to the fact that Pennsylvania purportedly refused access to Republican officials at some polling locations, a claim that Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has called “a lie.”


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