Trump campaign moves to stop Pa. ballot count, will intervene in U.S. Supreme Court case

By: - November 4, 2020 4:11 pm

President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign said Wednesday that it has moved to intervene in a pending U.S. Supreme Court case that could prevent state officials from counting late-arriving ballots.

The action comes as county official across the state counted thousands of absentee and mail-in ballots, and as President Donald Trump continued to falsely accuse Democrats of trying to steal the election in a critical battleground state.

Current state law gives counties until Friday to count late-arriving ballots that were postmarked by 8 p.m. on Election Day. Republicans sued, arguing that only the Legislature has the power to regulate elections, but they were defeated in Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the challenge, but left open the possibility that it would take up the challenge after Election Day. The court now has a 6-3 conservative majority with the confirmation of new Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

In a rambling press release, Trump’s campaign attacked Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, whose office oversees elections statewide, and alleged without evidence. that Boockvar “has tried her hardest to bake in a backdoor to victory for Joe Biden with late, illegal ballots in collusion with the partisan state Supreme Court.”

Boockvar told county officials to segregate those late-arriving ballots, anticipating that they would be the subject of legal action. At a joint news conference Wednesday with Gov. Tom Wolf, state officials urged state residents to be patient as they reached the halfway point in counting more than 2.5 million mail-in ballots.

Trump spent most of the day on Wednesday attacking the ballot count process, falsely alleging on Twitter that officials in battleground states, including Pennsylvania, were “finding” ballots for the former Democratic vice president.

“As the president has rightly said, the Supreme Court must resolve this crucial contested legal question, so President Trump’s Campaign is moving to intervene in the existing Supreme Court litigation over the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s unlawful extension of the mail-in ballot receipt deadline,” Deputy Campaign Manager Justin Clark said in a statement. “The law is on President Trump’s side: as the Eighth Circuit just said, to change the ballot receipt deadline is in fact a change of the time, place, and manner of the election—and only a state legislature or the United States Congress can do that under the Constitution.”

The campaign also said it was suing to “stop Democrat election officials from hiding the ballot counting and processing from our Republican poll observers—observers whose only job is to make sure every valid ballot is counted, and counted once.”

The campaign said it was “suing to temporarily halt counting until there is meaningful transparency and Republicans can ensure all counting is done above board and by the law.”

The campaign also said it’s filed suit against Pennsylvania Democrats from “breaking” state election law by “mov[ing] the deadline for absentee and mail-in voters to provide missing proof of identification well past the deadline.

In a press briefing, Biden campaign adviser Bob Bauer said Trump will be “in for one of the most embarrassing defeats” if he pursues action in the U.S. Supreme Court to stop votes from being counted, Axios reported.

“We’re going to defend this vote, the vote by which Joe Biden has been elected to the presidency,” Bauer said, according to Axios.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.