Pennsylvania Supreme Court tosses GOP congressman’s suit seeking to throw out all ballots cast by mail | Jeremy Roebuck/Philadelphia Inquirer

The last active legal challenge to Pennsylvania’s presidential election results was tossed Saturday by the state’s highest court, which balked at a request from one of President Donald Trump’s top boosters in Congress to disenfranchise some 2.6 million voters by throwing out every ballot cast by mail. Had Kelly and the suit’s seven other Republican plaintiffs been forthright in their concerns over the constitutionality of the mail-voting statute, the court found, they would have filed their legal challenge before the new law was used in a primary and general election and would not have waited only until after it had become apparent that their favored candidate had lost. “It is not our role to lend legitimacy to such transparent and untimely efforts to subvert the will of Pennsylvania voters,” Justice David N. Wecht wrote in an opinion concurring with the full court’s terse, three-page order. “Courts should not decide elections when the will of the voters is clear.” A spokesperson for Kelly did not respond to requests for comment after the ruling Saturday evening. Sean Parnell — one of the suit’s other plaintiffs, who lost a bid this month to unseat incumbent Rep. Conor Lamb (D., Pa.) — declared in a tweet: “It’s not over. This was not unexpected. Stay tuned.” (Running in the GOP primary this spring, Parnell had endorsed the new “bipartisan system” created by the state’s vote-by-mail law in a tweet and encouraged his supporters to use it.)

Full Article: Pennsylvania Supreme Court tosses GOP congressman’s suit seeking to throw out all ballots cast by mail


Pennsylvania: US appeals court rejects Trump appeal over election results | Maryclaire Dale/Associated Press

President Donald Trump’s legal team suffered yet another defeat in court Friday as a federal appeals court in Philadelphia roundly rejected its latest effort to challenge the state’s election results. Trump’s lawyers vowed to appeal to the Supreme Court despite the judge’s assessment that the “campaign’s claims have no merit.” “Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy. Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here,” Judge Stephanos Bibas wrote for the three-judge panel. The case had been argued last week in a lower court by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who insisted during five hours of oral arguments that the 2020 presidential election had been marred by widespread fraud in Pennsylvania. However, Giuliani failed to offer any tangible proof of that in court. U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann had said the campaign’s error-filled complaint, “like Frankenstein’s Monster, has been haphazardly stitched together” and denied Giuliani the right to amend it for a second time.

Full Article: US appeals court rejects Trump appeal over Pennsylvania race

Pennsylvania certifies its presidential election results, officially declaring Joe Biden the winner | Jonathan Lai and Jeremy Roebuck/Philadelphia Inquirer

Despite weeks of extreme rhetoric and failed lawsuits from President Donald Trump, Pennsylvania’s top elections official certified the state’s presidential election results on Tuesday, officially declaring Joe Biden the winner and paving the way for him to receive the state’s 20 Electoral College votes next month. Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar made the final count official three weeks after the Nov. 3 election: Biden received 3,458,229 votes, 80,555 more than President Donald Trump’s 3,377,674 votes. Biden won 50.01% of the vote to 48.8% for Trump. Gov. Tom Wolf then signed what is called the Certificate of Ascertainment to name the 20 Biden electors who will meet in Harrisburg on Dec. 14 to formally cast the votes for Biden. With the certification, the counting of votes in Pennsylvania’s 2020 presidential election is now complete — climaxing sweeping changes in state election law, a torrent of pre-election litigation, months of electoral preparation during the pandemic amid a flood of misinformation, abuse and even death threats aimed at election workers, and a flood of postelection legal challenges. Still, Trump’s campaign continues to press its case, dismissing certification in court filings as just “a procedural step” that could be undone with a favorable ruling before the Dec. 8 cutoff date to name electors. And the campaign touted a partisan state Senate hearing Wednesday in Gettysburg — one before a panel with only GOP members — at which it vowed Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani would present the evidence for allegations he has failed to offer in court.

Full Article: Pennsylvania certifies its presidential election results, officially declaring Joe Biden the winner

Pennsylvania counties start to certify election results, despite disinformation and baseless fraud claims from Trump allies | Jonathan Lai and Jeremy Roebuck/Philadelphia Inquirer

Pennsylvania counties rushed Monday to certify their results from the Nov. 3 election, even as President Donald Trump and his Republican allies continued their increasingly long-shot legal effort to disrupt the cementing of the state’s final vote tally. But as county boards of elections convened for what is normally little more than a sleepy formality, the impact of the president’s campaign to undermine trust in the integrity of the vote repeatedly reared its head.In at least three of the state’s most populous counties, the boards split their votes along party lines. And small groups of voters speaking at public meetings urged elections administrators to reject vote tallies in several others. Many speakers cited unsupported allegations of widespread fraud, malfunctioning voting machines and claims about mail-in ballots that Trump and his supporters have spread without evidence in recent weeks. Joe Gale, the Republican vice chair of the Montgomery County Election Board and only member to vote against certification, decried the widespread use of mail voting and called for the U.S. Supreme Court to review of the state’s results, echoing requests made by the president’s lawyers in recent days. “There is no way to certify the authenticity of one half of the votes cast this year,” he said Monday. “All 67 counties across the Commonwealth are experiencing electoral uncertainty.” Board votes in Allegheny and Luzerne — which Trump carried by 14 points — also split along partisan divides. But in all three counties, the dissenters were among the minority and the certifications were ultimately approved.

Full Article: Pennsylvania counties start to certify election results, despite disinformation and baseless fraud claims from Trump allies

Pennsylvania: In rare move, bipartisan panel rejects House request to audit 2020 election | Marie Albiges and Cynthia Fernandez/Philadelphia Inquirer

An attempt by Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled legislature to audit the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election failed Monday when a bipartisan panel rejected it, citing its redundancy. The Legislative Budget and Finance Committee voted 2-1 against the audit, which was requested by the House last week. The two Democrats on the panel voted against the measure, with one Republican in favor and another absent from the meeting. In rejecting the request, the panel’s two Democratic members — Sen. James Brewster (D., Allegheny) and Rep. Jake Wheatley (D., Allegheny) — said it would duplicate the efforts of an ongoing Department of State audit, which is mandated by law. “There are other ways of validating our election results, making sure we had a fair return in our election process. And I would encourage us to not prolong this wasted effort,” said Wheatley, who is treasurer of the committee. “I would just really suggest that we put this to bed now and move forward with some of our other prioritized reports and audits.”

Full Article: In rare move, bipartisan panel rejects Pa. House request to audit 2020 election

Pennsylvania: In scathing opinion, federal judge dismisses Trump campaign lawsuit | Jon Swaine/The Washington Post


A lawsuit brought by President Trump’s campaign that sought to block the certification of Pennsylvania’s election results was dismissed by a federal judge on Saturday evening. U.S. District Judge Matthew W. Brann granted a request from Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar to dismiss the suit, which alleged that Republicans had been illegally disadvantaged because some counties allowed voters to fix errors on their mail ballots. The judge’s decision, which he explained in a scathing 37-page opinion, was a thorough rebuke of the president’s sole attempt to challenge the statewide result in Pennsylvania. Brann wrote that Trump’s campaign had used “strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations” in its effort to throw out millions of votes. “In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state,” Brann wrote. In a statement, Trump’s attorney, Rudolph W. Giuliani, and legal adviser Jenna Ellis said they would appeal the decision and expected the case to reach the Supreme Court. “We are disappointed we did not at least get the opportunity to present our evidence at a hearing,” their statement said.

Full Article: In scathing opinion, federal judge dismisses Trump campaign lawsuit in Pennsylvania – The Washington Post

Pennsylvania: Some counties will miss election results certification deadline – Delays shouldn’t affect statewide certification, experts say. | Emily Previti/WITF

At least four counties home to about 800,000 voters will not have election results certified when they’re due Monday to the Pennsylvania Department of State, though three of them expect to wrap up within the next couple days. Ultimately, minor delays in a handful of counties fully certifying their results shouldn’t affect the overall certification process statewide — in part because Pa.’s election code doesn’t set a hard deadline for statewide certification by the Secretary of State, which is normally a formality, voting law experts say. Of 40 counties to respond to WITF’s inquiry, at least eight with a combined 471,000 voters had already fully certified their results and sent them to the Pa. Department of State by Friday. Another 28 counties with nearly 6.9 million of the state’s 9 million registered voters confirmed they will hit Monday’s deadline. Schuylkill County officials say they will wrap up Tuesday, while Westmoreland County doesn’t expect to finish until next week due to pandemic-driven staffing shortages and a tight state Senate race. Berks and Luzerne election boards are scheduled to certify Wednesday. “Sometimes counties lag behind – that’s not unusual,” said ACLU of Pa. elections and voting rights consultant Marian Schneider, formerly deputy secretary for elections and administration at DoS. Schneider said that’s especially true when counties are dealing with recounts, close races and/or litigation over election board decisions such as the cases out of Philadelphia and Allegheny and Bucks counties.

Full Article: Some counties will miss Pennsylvania’s election results certification deadline | WITF

Pennsylvania: Trump campaign asks court to declare Trump winner | Marina Pitofsky/The Hill

President Trump’s campaign filed a lawsuit on Wednesday over election results in Pennsylvania, arguing that he should be named the winner in the battleground state and that the GOP-controlled state legislature should be given the authority to assign its electoral votes, according to reports. The suit also argues that the campaign’s constitutional rights were violated because observers were not given adequate access as election officials processed mail-in ballots. The claim was dropped in an earlier version of the lawsuit. The campaign said in its new filing said that the claim was dropped due to a miscommunication among attorneys for the president. It also argues that 1.5 million votes across the state “should not have been counted” and that they led to “returns indicating Biden won Pennsylvania.” Attorneys for the Trump campaign also criticized a decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court earlier this week. The court ruled on Tuesday that election observers had adequate opportunity to watch to the vote-counting process, even if they could not see the individual ballots.

Full Article: Trump campaign asks Pennsylvania court to declare Trump winner | TheHill

Divided Pennsylvania House approves audit of 2020 election, citing inconsistencies and confusion in electorate | Ford Turner/The Morning Call

A deeply divided state House on Thursday voted to approve a Republican-sponsored measure that sets up an audit of the 2020 election, citing inconsistencies and confusion in the electorate as evidence the process must be improved for future contests. The vote was 112 in favor of the audit and 90 against, with all Republicans and three Democrats voting in favor. “There is no need to fear this audit. I welcome it. We all should welcome it, to find out what went right and what went wrong,” said Bedford County Republican Rep. Jesse Topper, the prime sponsor of the audit resolution. The intent, he said, is not to look for fraud but to get an in-depth assessment of how the Nov. 3 election was carried out, in time to possibly take legislative action early next year to improve the system. The resolution directs the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee ― a bipartisan committee with members from both House and Senate ― to oversee a “risk-limiting” audit. It allows the committee to hire an outside contractor to do the work. It may begin almost immediately and is expected to be complete by early February, at the latest. Democrats attacked the proposal, calling it unconstitutional, damaging to democracy and unnecessary. Gov. Tom Wolf issued a written statement during the debate, saying any audit done by this approach would be “incomplete, duplicative and unreliable.”

Full Article: Divided Pennsylvania House approves audit of 2020 election, citing inconsistencies and confusion in electorate – The Morning Call

Pennsylvania: Led By Giuliani, Trump Campaign Effort To Stop Certification Falters | Pam Fessler/NPR

Things did not go well Tuesday for the Trump campaign’s effort to stop certification of the Pennsylvania vote count — which has Joe Biden ahead by more than 73,000 votes. At almost the same time the president’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was in federal court in Williamsport, Pa., complaining that Republican observers were illegally denied access to vote counting in Philadelphia and other Democratic areas, the state Supreme Court in Harrisburg concluded otherwise. By a 5-2 vote, it ruled that Philadelphia election officials had acted properly in their handling of the observation process. The Trump campaign had argued that GOP representatives were kept too far away to see whether there were any irregularities, but the court said they were able to view election workers “performing their duties,” as required. It was a major loss for the president and his campaign’s flailing effort to overturn the election results. Republicans have filed suits in several states seeking to invalidate thousands of votes, but have lost almost every case so far. While the election observer claim was removed from the Pennsylvania lawsuit, Giuliani told U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Brann that he hoped to reinsert it with an amended complaint.

Full Article: Trump Effort To Stop Pennsylvania Certification, Led By Giuliani, Falters : NPR

Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejects complaints about Philadelphia election observations | Zach Montellaro and Josh Gerstein/Politico

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled 5-2 on Tuesday that observers’ rights to watch ballot counting was sufficient in Philadelphia, rejecting a claim from President Donald Trump’s campaign that poll observers didn’t get “meaningful access.” The Trump campaign argued that observers were stationed too far away to actually see the process of counting votes, and a lower court initially agreed with them, ordering that they be allowed closer to the process. The state Supreme Court, which had previously rejected other Republican arguments, vacated that lower court order on Tuesday. “We conclude the Board did not act contrary to law in fashioning its regulations governing the positioning of candidate representatives during the precanvassing and canvassing process, as the Election Code does not specify minimum distance parameters for the location of such representatives,” the court wrote in its majority order. “Critically, we find the Board’s regulations as applied herein were reasonable in that they allowed candidate representatives to observe the Board conducting its activities as prescribed under the Election Code.” The Trump campaign called the ruling “inexplicable” and signaled the legal battle wasn’t over. “This ruling is contrary to the clear purpose of the law,” Jenna Ellis, a campaign senior legal adviser, said in a statement.The lower court rightly recognized that the intent and purpose of the Pennsylvania law is to allow election watchers from both parties to actually see the ballots close enough to inspect them, and thus prevent partisan ballot counting in secret.“

Full Article: Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejects complaints about Philadelphia election observations – POLITICO

Pennsylvania: Trump’s legal push to disrupt election results is on its last legs. What’s his campaign still fighting in court? | Jeremy Roebuck/Philadelphia Inquirer

While Trump’s campaign continues to pursue legal challenges, there was no active case left with enough ballots in question to reverse Joe Biden’s 69,000-vote advantage in the state as of Monday afternoon. Trump campaign lawyers now say their goal isn’t to overturn Biden’s lead but to whittle his 1.01-point lead down to 0.5 points and trigger an automatic recount. And this week is likely to prove decisive in the one case on which the campaign has pinned its remaining hopes — a suit seeking a court order barring Pennsylvania from certifying its final vote tally. It’s worth noting again that despite the outsized rhetoric from the president and his allies about widespread and systemic voter fraud, none of the suits his campaign has filed so far has contained even one allegation — let alone evidence — of a single vote being deliberately cast illegally. What’s more, campaign lawyers, when pressed by Pennsylvania judges in court, have consistently acknowledged that they are not alleging voter fraud but are instead seeking to disqualify ballots submitted by lawful voters based on legal technicalities.

Full Article: Trump’s legal push to disrupt Pa.’s election results is on its last legs. What’s his campaign still fighting in court?

Pennsylvania: Trump campaign presses election cases as attorneys abandon key claims, courts deny legal challenges | Emily Previti/WHYY

Quairah Tucker votes in every election, but this year brought a lot of firsts. She’s one of millions of Pennsylvanians issued a mailed ballot. Since hers never arrived, Tucker was among more than 100,000 who voted provisionally at the polls. More than a week later, she received a letter in the mail, saying her ballot was being challenged. “When I was at the polling place, I thought that my vote counted,” Tucker said. “I didn’t expect to have to come in and fight for my rights, for my vote counting.” Tucker and more than 1,000 other Delaware County voters had their provisional ballots challenged by the Trump campaign for any number of reasons: signing in the wrong spot, using the wrong date, failing to seal the ballot envelope properly and so on. In Tucker’s case, she put her name in one spot, but not the other where voters are supposed to sign. “I filled out the ballot, like I was told to do. I was instructed to only fill out one box. And I guess that was not enough,” she said. The campaign has challenged thousands of provisional ballots in several majority-Democrat counties, including in Northampton, Montgomery, Chester and Allegheny. That’s in addition to its unresolved lawsuits in courts across the commonwealth. Plus, the petition before the U.S. Supreme Court initiated by Pennsylvania Republicans — which the Trump campaign has since joined — could invalidate about 10,000 ballots that arrived after polls closed on election night and before 5 p.m. on Nov. 6.

Full Article: Trump campaign presses election cases in Pennsylvania as attorneys abandon key claims, courts deny legal challenges – WHYY

Pennsylvania: 2nd Trump lawyer asks to pull out of case challenging election | Alex Hosenball/ABC

Full Article: 2nd Trump lawyer asks to pull out of case challenging Pennsylvania election – ABC News

Pennsylvania: Trump campaign jettisons major parts of its legal challenge against election results | Jon Swaine and Elise Viebeck/The Washington Post

President Trump’s campaign on Sunday scrapped a major part of its federal lawsuit challenging the election results in Pennsylvania. Trump’s attorneys filed a revised version of the lawsuit, removing allegations that election officials violated the Trump campaign’s constitutional rights by limiting the ability of their observers to watch votes being counted. Trump and Rudolph W. Giuliani, his personal attorney, have said repeatedly that more than 600,000 votes in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh should be invalidated because of this issue. Trump’s pared-down lawsuit now focuses on allegations that Republicans were illegally disadvantaged because some Democratic-leaning counties allowed voters to fix errors on their mail ballots. Counties have said this affected only a small number of votes. Cliff Levine, an attorney representing the Democratic Party in the case, said on Sunday evening that Trump’s move meant his lawsuit could not possibly change the result. “Now you’re only talking about a handful of ballots,” Levine said. “They would have absolutely no impact on the total count or on Joe Biden’s win over Donald Trump.”

Full Article: Trump campaign jettisons major parts of its legal challenge against Pennsylvania’s election results – The Washington Post

Pennsylvania secretary of state will not order a recount | Tal Axelrod/The Hill

Pennsylvania’s top elections official confirmed Friday she will not be ordering a recount or recanvass of her state’s election results as Republicans rail against officials there over groundless voter fraud claims. Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar (D) said the races for president, state attorney general, auditor general and state treasurer will not face recounts or recanvasses after unofficial returns submitted by the state’s counties showed no statewide candidate lost by less 0.5 percent, the margin at which such recourses would be triggered. “We are extremely grateful to all 67 counties who have been working overtime and putting in an extraordinary effort to count every vote, with so far more than 6.8 million votes having been counted,” Boockvar said in a statement. “The counties continue to adjudicate and count the approximately 100,000 provisional ballots issued to voters at the polls on Election Day, as well as the more than 28,000 military and overseas ballots that were cast in this election.” With ballots still being cast, Biden currently holds a nearly 60,000-vote lead in the state, a margin that has mushroomed  since the state was called for him last weekend and could grow more.

Full Article: Pennsylvania secretary of state will not order a recount | TheHill

Pennsylvania: As DOJ probes election, Republicans’ pursuit of voter fraud hits hurdle — a lack of evidence | Daniel Moore/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Peters, said he had not yet seen evidence of election fraud, yet backed the U.S. Department of Justice’s announcement this week it would probe any allegations of voting irregularities in states President Donald Trump lost to former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 election. “If I’m looking at this through a lens of someone who used to be a magisterial district judge, the evidence is not there yet,” Mr. Reschenthaler acknowledged in an interview Tuesday. “But it’s also premature to predetermine the outcome.” The comments by Mr. Reschenthaler — who sits on the House Judiciary Committee and is a member of the House Republican leadership circle — are another sign of Pennsylvania Republicans straddling the line between backing the president’s unsubstantiated claims of a victory while also ignoring Mr. Biden’s win. Mr. Reschenthaler — who last week won a second term in Pennsylvania’s 14th Congressional District by about 30 percentage points — compared the current moment to the aftermath of the 2000 election, in which the outcome was not known for several weeks after Election Day.

Full Article: As DOJ probes election, Republicans’ pursuit of voter fraud hits hurdle — a lack of evidence | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pennsylvania appellate court sides with Trump in fight over ID deadlines for voters, tossing small number of ballots | Jeremy Roebuck/Philadelphia Inquirer

A Pennsylvania appellate court handed President Donald Trump’s campaign a minor victory Thursday, barring counties from including in their final vote tallies a small pool of mail ballots from people who had failed to provide required ID by a Monday deadline. In a two-page order, a Commonwealth Court judge struck down a decision by the Wolf administration to give voters more time, post-election, to fulfill the ID requirement. Though state law only requires first-time voters to show ID at the polls, all voters who applied to vote by mail had to be validated their identification against state records by Nov. 9. Two days before the election, Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar pushed that date back by three days, citing a court decision earlier this year that allowed late-arriving mail ballots to be counted as long as they had been mailed by Nov. 3 and received within three days of that date. But it was unclear just how many ballots statewide would now be thrown out. The number is likely to be vanishingly small compared to the larger pools of votes Republicans are seeking to have tossed in other ongoing court fights across the state.

Full Article: Pa. appellate court sides with Trump in fight over ID deadlines for voters, tossing small number of ballots

Pennsylvania: Trump’s campaign is challenging mail and provisional ballots at record rates in Philadelphia and its suburbs | Jeremy Roebuck and William Bender/Philadelphia Inquirer

Even as President Donald Trump’s campaign is waging a well-publicized legal war on the broad rules governing the presidential election in Pennsylvania, its lawyers are engaging in lower-profile but no less important, county-by-county trench battles to disqualify individual votes in Philadelphia and its suburbs over technicalities. In hearings before county Boards of Elections and Common Pleas Court judges, campaign attorneys have pushed for several thousand mail votes to be cast aside due to voter mistakes like failing to date the envelope. Meanwhile, they are pursuing record numbers of challenges to “provisional” ballots, in some cases for grounds as small as the name of the county being misspelled. But just as with the more sweeping lawsuits that Trump has filed in state and federal courts across the state seeking to cast doubt on the overall integrity of the electoral system, few of these county-level skirmishes have anything to do with the allegations of widespread and deliberate voter fraud that Trump and his allies have pushed without evidence for days. Instead, their filings ask courts and county boards to disenfranchise potentially thousands of legitimate voters in Philadelphia and its suburbs over procedural errors made when filing their ballots.

Full Article: rump’s campaign is challenging mail and provisional ballots at record rates in Philly and its suburbs

Pennsylvania GOP lawmakers to probe unverified fraud claims in election they largely won | by Cynthia Fernandez and Marie Albiges/Philadelphia Inquirer

As President Donald Trump continues to question the integrity of Pennsylvania’s election while repeating unverified claims of voter fraud, state Republicans are once again seeking greater powers to investigate the voting process. Roughly two dozen House and Senate lawmakers on Tuesday called for the creation of an investigatory committee with subpoena power to conduct an immediate audit, saying they had fielded widespread doubts about the fairness of the Nov. 3 presidential election. House Republicans championed a similar proposal before the election but abandoned it after Democrats raised concerns it would be weaponized to impound ballots, interrogate election officials, and delay the certification of Pennsylvania’s election results. At the state Capitol, Rep. Dawn Keefer (R., York) said the assembled lawmakers’ offices had been “overwhelmed with calls and emails and other messages from constituents who are confused and outraged by the circumstances surrounding this election.” … Pennsylvania already has safeguards in place to ensure the accuracy of election results, experts told Spotlight PA and Votebeat. In addition to routine reviews in each county required by law, the state has started to pilot “risk-limiting” audits, a process that verifies whether a sample of paper ballots matches results captured electronically by voting machines.

Full Article: Pa. GOP lawmakers to probe unverified fraud claims in election they largely won

Pennsylvania: Postal worker admits fabricating ballot tampering claims, officials say | Shawn Boburg and Jacob Bogage/The Washington Post

A Pennsylvania postal worker whose claims have been cited by top Republicans as potential evidence of widespread voting irregularities admitted to U.S. Postal Service investigators that he fabricated the allegations, according to three officials briefed on the investigation and a statement from a House congressional committee. Richard Hopkins’s claim that a postmaster in Erie, Pa., instructed postal workers to backdate ballots mailed after Election Day was cited by Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) in a letter to the Justice Department calling for a federal investigation. Attorney General William P. Barr subsequently authorized federal prosecutors to open probes into credible allegations of voting irregularities and fraud before results are certified, a reversal of long-standing Justice Department policy. But on Monday, Hopkins, 32, told investigators from the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General that the allegations were not true, and he signed an affidavit recanting his claims, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe an ongoing investigation. Democrats on the House Oversight Committee tweeted late Tuesday that the “whistleblower completely RECANTED.”

Full Article: Postal worker admits fabricating Pennsylvania ballot tampering claims, officials say – The Washington Post

Pennsylvania: Trump campaign moves to bar state from certifying election results in new lawsuit | Jeremy Roebuck/Philadelphia Inquirer

President Donald Trump’s campaign launched a new legal effort Monday aimed at stopping the certification of election results in Pennsylvania and potentially invalidating thousands of votes cast by mail statewide. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Harrisburg, accuses state and county officials of grossly mismanaging the process of voting by mail and shrouding the tabulation of mail ballots in secrecy by denying Republican monitors sufficient access to inspect them as they were being counted. Though many of its claims have already been presented and litigated in courts across the state — many which ruled against the president’s campaign — the new 86-page filing presented GOP lawyers’ most comprehensive case yet in attempting to undermine public confidence in Pennsylvania’s election results. “The very officials charged with ensuring the integrity of the election in Pennsylvania have so mismanaged the election process that no one — not the voters and not President Trump’s campaign — can have any faith that their most basic rights under the U.S. Constitution are being protected,” wrote attorneys Ronald L. Hicks Jr. and Carolyn B. McGee, of Pittsburgh, and Linda Kerns, of Philadelphia. “Nothing less than the integrity of the 2020 presidential is at stake in this action.”

Full Article: Trump campaign moves to bar Pennsylvania from certifying election results in new lawsuit

Pennsylvania: Philadelphia elections officials get death threats amid Trump election attacks | Jonathan Lai/Philadelphia Inquirer

“Hey, how are you? You know what happens to corrupt Democrat politicians and election officials who support Black Lives Matter and who use voter fraud and voter suppression, voter intimidation and election tampering? You know what happens?” a man said, according to a recording of the call. “They learn first hand, the hard way, why the Second Amendment exists. We are a thousand steps ahead of you motherf—, and you’re walking right into the lion’s den.” It was an unsettling reminder of how heated — and dangerous — American politics have become. As officials prepared for the possibility of violence and civil unrest following Election Day, they worried about the city commissioners, the three elected officials who run Philadelphia’s elections, along with their staffs. Police performed threat assessments of the commissioners’ homes ahead of Election Day and planned strict security for the Pennsylvania Convention Center, where ballots would be counted and the commissioners and their staff would spend every hour of the day. “We are working around the clock in a location that probably has the best security and is the safest place in the entire City of Philadelphia,” Al Schmidt, the lone Republican of the three commissioners, recalled of the last week in an interview Monday. “We have the police department, we have the sheriff’s office, and we have private security.” Outside, tensions were rising, inflamed by President Donald Trump’s false attacks on the state’s electoral process and the sense that Pennsylvania — and Philadelphia — would play a key role in determining the presidency. As legal and political fights escalated, so did the vitriol: a torrent of death threats, harassment, and abuse, aimed at the city’s elections administrators.

Full Article: Philadelphia elections officials get death threats amid Trump election attacks

Pennsylvania: Upward of 100,000 provisional ballots could further delay a winner being named | Tom Lisi/The Philadelphia Inquirer

Those across the nation eager for a winner to be declared in Pennsylvania might have to wait a little longer because of a flood of provisional ballots, most of which are only now being counted in a process that takes a lot more time than tallying in-person or mail votes.As of Friday morning, 56 of the state’s 67 counties reported about 85,000 provisional ballots cast based on only a partial count, a Pennsylvania Department of State spokesperson said. House Speaker Bryan Cutler told reporters Friday he’s told the number could top 100,000.Provisional ballots are cast when a voter’s eligibility is in question. And so far, 2020 looks like it might be a record year, owing mostly to the state’s expansion of no-excuse mail voting. Any voter who requested a mail ballot but did not receive it — or who forgot or lost their ballot or envelopes — could still vote at the polls on Election Day using a provisional ballot. There were also reports on Election Day that some voters were told to cast a provisional ballot even if they brought their entire mail ballot to the polls, which should have allowed them to vote in person. Usually, county officials do not review provisional ballots until after in-person, mail, and absentee ballots are counted. That’s why many counties did not begin until after 5 p.m. Friday, the deadline to accept mail ballots sent by Election Day. Late-arriving mail ballots are being segregated because they are subject to a pending U.S. Supreme Court case.

Full Article: Upward of 100,000 provisional ballots in Pa. could further delay a winner being named

Pennsylvania: Republican Philadelphia official responsible for vote counting says office getting death threats | Dominick Mastrangelo/The Hill

The Republican city commissioner in Philadelphia whose office is responsible for counting votes in the city, said his staff has been receiving death threats since the count began there last week. “From the inside looking out, it all feels very deranged,” Al Schmidt said during an interview that aired Sunday on CBS News’ 60 minutes. “At the end of the day, we are counting eligible votes, cast by voters. The controversy surrounding it, is something I don’t understand.” Schmidt said critics of his office have been “coming up with all sorts of crazy stuff” about the integrity of the city’s election systems and casting doubt on the impartiality of vote counters. President Trump opened up a sizable lead on projected winner Joe Biden in Pennsylvania, which does not allowed mail-in ballots to be counted before Election Day, on Tuesday evening. But a slew of mail-in votes counted in subsequent days, mostly in the Philadelphia and Pittsburg areas, swung the state toward Biden, and the former Vice President eclipsed the president’s lead early Friday morning.

Full Article: Republican Philadelphia official responsible for vote counting says office getting death threats | TheHill

Pennsylvania: Trump legal team vows to fight on, starting with fresh lawsuit Monday | Craig R. McCoy and Jamie Martines/The Philadelphia Inquirer

Lawsuits contesting Joe Biden’s win of the presidency, starting with a federal suit to be filed Monday alleging that Philadelphia and Pittsburgh were awash in vote fraud. Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, elaborated on the pending suits in an interview on Fox News in which he leveled allegations that, in several cases, the GOP had already argued without success in previous court challenges. However, the Trump legal team did cite at least one case from Pennsylvania in which it appears the vote of a dead woman from the Pittsburgh area was received and marked as “recorded” by election officials. In his Sunday remarks, Giuliani contended the suits could reverse the electionoutcome, at least in Pennsylvania. “We have enough to change Pennsylvania,” he said. “The Pennsylvania election was a disaster.” Democratic lawyers have fought back against GOP lawsuits ever since Tuesday’s election. They have dismissed the challenges as fact-free attacks on what turned out to be a fairly routine election process. “There’s no there there,” Adam Bonin, a lawyer for Democrats who was among the vote-counting observers in Philadelphia for his party, said Sunday.

Full Article: Trump legal team vows to fight on, starting with fresh lawsuit Monday in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania elections officials tune out the noise and count mail ballots | Jonathan Lai and Jessica Calefati/The Philadelphia Inquirer

Outside a former metalworks warehouse on the north side of the city, it’s around-the-clock news coverage, speculation, misinformation, litigation, and anxiety about Pennsylvania’s election results. Inside, it’s all about the count. A sea of black totes containing already scanned ballots spreads across one side of the warehouse, under the guard of several armed county law…

Pennsylvania: Bucks County judge dismisses Trump suit against Bucks Board of Elections | Peg Quann/Bucks County Courier Times

The Trump campaign lost a legal challenge that if successful would have prohibited political observers from notifying Bucks County voters that their mail-in ballots were being challenged on Election Day. The observers were taking the names of those voters and their addresses and notifying them of the challenge in hopes that they would go to the polls and vote with a provisional ballot, which would be counted if their mail-in ballots were rejected. These mail-in ballots, officials said, were challenged due to voters not using the secrecy envelope or other defects. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, was ultimately denied and dismissed by county Judge Gary Gilman. “We were successful. The case was thrown out and the county’s practices continued through the day,” County Solicitor Joseph Khan said Wednesday during the county commissioners meeting.

Full Article: Bucks judge dismisses Trump suit against Bucks Board of Elections

Pennsylvania: Trump tries to stop ballot count | Michael Finnegan/Los Angeles Times

President Trump sought Wednesday to block Pennsylvania from counting more than 1 million ballots cast by mail in Tuesday’s election as the tabulation narrowed his lead over Democratic challenger Joe Biden. Trump’s extraordinary attack on the voting system came in a broad legal assault on ballot counting across a handful of toss-up states that will decide the presidential election. The Republican president was more than 600,000 votes ahead of Biden early Wednesday in Pennsylvania, but by the end of the day that margin had shrunk to fewer than 140,000 votes. Biden’s lopsided victory in the mail ballots counted by Wednesday, 77% to 22%, put the former vice president on track to erase Trump’s lead entirely by the time the count of the remaining 763,000 mail ballots was complete. Most were cast in counties that Trump lost in 2016. Mail ballots take extra time to process and count so each voter’s eligibility can be verified.

Full Article: Trump tries to stop Pennsylvania ballot count in election – Los Angeles Times

Pennsylvania: GOP effort to block ‘cured’ ballots gets chilly reception from judge | Katherine Landergan and Josh Gerstein/Politico

A federal judge gave a skeptical reception Wednesday to a Republican lawsuit seeking to throw out votes in a Pennsylvania county that contacted some voters to give them an opportunity to fix — or “cure” — problems with their absentee ballots. During a morning hearing in Philadelphia, U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Savage said he was dubious of arguments from a lawyer for GOP congressional candidate Kathy Barnette, who argued that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court had concluded that the law prohibits counties from allowing voters who erred in completing or packaging their mail-in ballots to correct those mistakes. “I’m not sure about that,” said Savage, an appointee of President George W. Bush. “Is that exactly what was said or is what was said was that there is no mandatory requirement that the election board do that?….Wasn’t the legislative intent of the statute we are talking about to franchise, not disenfranchise, voters?” “This isn’t disenfranchising voters,” insisted Thomas Breth, an attorney for Barnette. “They can’t do this unless the election code provides them the authority to do this.” But Savage chafed at the lawyer’s suggestion that a miscast absentee vote blocked a voter from fixing that ballot or casting a provisional ballot at the polls. “It counts as your vote, but your vote is not counted,” the judge said quizzically.

Full Article: GOP effort to block ‘cured’ Pennsylvania ballots gets chilly reception from judge – POLITICO