Judge to consider Trump campaign lawsuit over Pennsylvania vote Tuesday

Northeast

A Luzerne County worker canvases ballots that arrived after closing of voting until Friday at 5 p.m. and postmarked by Nov. 3rd as vote counting in the general election continues, Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (NewsNation Now) — A hearing on a federal lawsuit filed by President Donald Trump’s campaign seeking to stop the certification of election results in Pennsylvania will be held Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann will hear arguments in the lawsuit that Trump’s campaign initially brought on Nov. 9, two days after the Associated Press called the presidential contest in the state for Democrat Joe Biden. It aims to halt Pennsylvania’s top election official from certifying Biden as the winner, giving him the state’s 20 electoral votes.

Trump has refused to concede, and he continues to pursue legal actions to overturn election results.

On Sunday, the Trump campaign withdrew a central part of its lawsuit, alleging that hundreds of thousands of mail-in and absentee ballots were illegally processed in Pennsylvania without its representatives watching.

The remaining claim in the lawsuit centers on disqualifying ballots cast by voters who were given an opportunity to fix mail-in ballots that were going to be disqualified for a technicality.

Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar has asked to have the lawsuit thrown out, calling its allegations in court filings “at best, garden-variety irregularities.”

Judge Brann scheduled the hearing at the Williamsport federal courthouse Tuesday to discuss the campaign’s request for a temporary restraining order as well as the defendants’ request to have the case dismissed.

Brann is expected to rule quickly considering that Boockvar is due to certify the election results on Nov. 23.

On Monday, three lawyers representing the Trump campaign asked to withdraw from the case, saying the campaign had consented but offering little explanation. Brann allowed two of three to drop out of the case.

A new lawyer hired on Monday, Mark Scaringi, asked Brann to postpone the hearing so he could prepare, but the judge denied the request.

Pennsylvania and local officials have said there’s no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the Nov. 3 election, NewsNation affiliate WBRE/WYOU reported.

A spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of State issued a statement, saying they had a “free, fair and secure election.”

“Millions of Pennsylvanians followed the rules allowed by the SCOTUS and each voter, regardless of political party, must have their voice heard,” the department said. “Pennsylvania is going to fight every single attempt to disenfranchise voters. We will protect this election and the democratic process. Pennsylvania will count every vote, and we will protect the count of every vote.”

The issues Trump’s campaign and its allies have pointed to are typical in every election: problems with signatures, secrecy envelopes and postal marks on mail-in ballots, as well as the potential for a small number of ballots miscast or lost. With Biden leading Trump by wide margins in key battleground states, legal experts say the lawsuits have little chance of changing the outcome of the election.

The Associated Press, Reuters and NewsNation affiliate WBRE/WYOU contributed to this report. Reporting by Mark Scolford of the Associated Press and Jan Wolfe of Reuters.

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