Judge hands Trump campaign an ‘important legal victory’ in Pennsylvania

In what was being called an “important legal victory” for President Donald Trump’s campaign, a judge in Pennsylvania ruled that the state may not count ballots where voters needed to provide proof of identification and failed to do so by Election Day.

Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt said that Democratic Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar  “lacked statutory authority” to extend the deadline by 3 days, saying election officials are “enjoined from counting any ballots” that were cured during the extended period, Forbes reported.

 

The Trump campaign and Republican National Committee filed a lawsuit last week challenging Boockvar’s decision to extend the deadline for these mail-in ballots and  the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court had previously ordered ballots fixed during the extended deadline to be segregated as the case was being decided.

Because the ballots were already segregated, they weren’t included in the state’s vote count, according to Forbes. The numbers impacted by the judge’s decision reportedly will not alter the outcome of the race, where Joe Biden holds a lead of 55,978 votes as of Thursday.

“[T]he Court concludes that Respondent Kathy Boockvar, in her official capacity as Secretary of the Commonwealth, lacked statutory authority to issue the November 1, 2020, guidance to Respondents County Boards of Elections insofar as that guidance purported to change the deadline … for certain electors to verify proof of identification,” Judge Leavitt said in a court order.

The case was one of several legal challenges the Trump campaign has filed in Pennsylvania.

A hearing is scheduled Friday on thousands of ballots that the campaign claimed were improperly counted despite lacking required information, and the Supreme Court has yet to decide on whether the Pennsylvania Supreme Court acted properly in granting the three-day extension for accepting mail-in ballots, according to Fox News.

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel took to Twitter to call the ruling a “big win,” stating that Boockvar tried to get away with a flagrant violation of state law when, at the eleventh hour, when she “unilaterally re-wrote state law “to move the deadline for providing missing proof of ID to several days past the deadline set by law.”

In a further statement, McDaniel went further, calling the move to extend the state’s three-day extension for providing ID “a cut and dry brazen power grab by a Democrat official trying to tip the scales in Joe Biden’s favor.”

In Michigan, it was reported Thursday that Republican state senators are requesting a full audit of the 2020 general election, asking that it be completed before the state’s election results are certified.

The president’s son and namesake, Donald Trump Jr., responded in tweet: “Good. With so many irregularities, for Americans to ever have faith in our systems again we need full audits everywhere!!!”

Georgia announced on Wednesday that the state will conduct an audit of the election, recounting by hand millions of ballots cast there last week.

Tom Tillison

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