The Election Is Now a Legal Battle in Pennsylvania

The Election Is Now a Legal Battle in Pennsylvania

( – Last spring, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns, some state legislatures hastily and quickly amended voting laws to allow for mail-in voting. The idea behind the legislation was to protect the vulnerable at risk from the disease from being forced to show up at polls to make their voice heard. Some states were very specific in their laws, and yet Democrats still circumvented them.

The 2020 presidential election is no longer about voters. It’s about the law. While allegations are not directly being made that fraud is occurring, in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, lawsuits are being filed by the Trump campaign. Campaign officials allege that the election’s integrity is at stake as counting issues and irregularities have shown up.

Of all the elections being monitored, Pennsylvania is receiving the most scrutiny. The Trump campaign cannot win the election without Pennsylvania, and it was predicted for months that the bell-weather state would likely decide the winner of the election. In the months and days leading up to the election, President Trump spent an inordinate amount of time hosting large rallies and courting voters throughout the state.

As of early Thursday morning, November 5, President Trump held a 164,000-vote advantage over Joe Biden in Pennsylvania with 91% of precincts reporting. However, that number is dropping quickly as counties begin reporting mail-in numbers in favor of Biden.

Pennsylvania Lawsuits Could Determine the Outcome of the Election

On Wednesday afternoon, November 4, the Trump campaign held a press conference outlining their grievances and announced a lawsuit against Philadelphia. The video is worth watching.

The Democratic Party entirely runs Philadelphia, and local officials have little accountability. An insightful article in Philly Magazine details how 20 prominent, corrupt Philly figures were caught breaking the law for political, personal, and financial gain. They ranged from government officials, election officials, and judges. Charges and convictions ranged from bribes, racketeering, mail fraud, election fraud, and other forms of favoritism for political help.

Not mentioned in the list from Philly Magazine is Domenick Demuro. Demuro is a former Philadelphia Judge of Elections convicted for his role in accepting bribes to cast fraudulent ballots and certify false voting results during the 2014, 2015, and 2016 primary elections in Philadelphia.

Pennsylvania is facing at least two lawsuits.

Ballot Deadlines

The first lawsuit deals with election deadlines. In April 2019, the Republican-led legislature and Democratic Governor Tom Wolf agreed on Act 77. The law allowed for Pennsylvania to start accepting mail-in votes if voters asked for a mail-in ballot. The law is very specific. It states that the mail-in vote must be received by 8 pm on Election Day to be counted. During the spring and summer of 2020, the legislature could not agree on how to revise the law to allow for more time, and therefore the law was not amended.

In Pennsylvania, as in most states, the seven-member State Supreme Court is partisan elected. The court is made up of 5 Democrats and one Republican on the court. The seventh was a Democrat appointed by Wolf.

In September, the state Democratic Party sued the county board of elections throughout the state for saying they would enforce Act 77 as written and passed into law. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court agreed with the Democrats and ordered that county election officials receive the mail-in ballots up to three days after the election. That’s despite the clarity in the law that Gov. Wolf signed saying the deadline to receive ballots was 8 pm on election day.

The court also ruled that ballots lacking postmarks or ineligible postmarks had to be counted as well.

The Trump campaign is arguing to the US Supreme Court that the PA Supreme Court acted as a legislature in their ruling instead of as a court. In the late October ruling, the US Supreme Court, on a 4-4 vote, refused to hear the case. The Trump campaign is asking the now fully 9-member court to hear the case and decide on the law as written.

If the US Supreme Court agrees to hear the case, any ballots received by mail after 8 pm on election night could be discarded if the nation’s high court forces the state to follow their law as written.

Second Pennsylvania Lawsuit

In Philadelphia, the Trump campaign is suing after campaign poll watchers were prevented from legally watching the vote-counting process. The 14-page lawsuit says in part:

“Bad things are happening in Philadelphia. While transparency and accountability are hallmarks of election integrity, the actions of Philadelphia election officials to date have undermined election integrity by shrouding the casting of ballots in secrecy.”

The campaign is asking that vote counting stop until GOP poll-watchers are allowed back in, and “meaningful transparency” is guaranteed.

In addition to the first lawsuits, President Trump has accused Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar of deciding on her own, against state law, that first-time voters don’t have to provide proof of who they are. Pennsylvania state law requires first-time mail-in and absentee voters to provide indemnification.

Will Trump succeed? Will the lawsuits even matter?

We’ll see.

Stay tuned as this is an ongoing story.

Don Purdum, Independent Political Analyst

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