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Republican AGs File Amicus Brief in Pennsylvania Mail-In Ballot Case

November 10, 2020 by Reece Nations
Primary election ballots are processed at the Chester County Voter Services office in West Chester, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

WASHINGTON — Republican Attorneys General from 10 states have filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in the latest legal action in the case to contend the counting of certain mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania.

In the brief, the AGs argue the United States Supreme Court must overturn the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision to permit mail-in ballots to be accepted three days after Election Day, according to the brief’s text. The coalition contends the Pennsylvania Supreme Court surpassed its constitutional authority by taking late ballots and consequently violated the Election Clauses of the Constitution.

“Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our republic and it’s one of the reasons why the United States is the envy of the world,” Missouri AG Eric Schmitt said during a press conference Monday. “We have to ensure that every legal vote cast is counted and that every illegal vote not cast is not counted.” 

Schmitt’s statement continued, “To do so would disenfranchise millions of Americans and why we filed this brief today seeking the Supreme Court to take the Pennsylvania case and then reverse the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision.” 

In filing the brief, Schmitt is joined by Steve Marshall of Alabama, Leslie Rutledge of Arkansas, Ashley Moody of Florida, Daniel Cameron of Kentucky, Jeff Landry of Louisiana, Lynn Fitch of Mississippi, Alan Wilson of South Carolina, Jason Ravnsborg of South Dakota and Ken Paxton of Texas, according to the brief’s text. 

The brief makes note of a multitude of absentee and mail-in ballot fraud cases from various elections, although made no note of proven instances of ballot fraud in the 2020 presidential election. Within the brief’s text, 491 known cases of ballot fraud from 2000 to 2012 were highlighted from the News21 database

The AG’s brief mentions that absentee voter fraud comprised 24% of the 491 cases of all cases reported in the surveyed public records. However, the AGs note the database indicates this is an undercount of incidents of voter fraud “because it was based on public-record requests to state and local government entities, many of which did not respond.” 

As of Nov. 7, former Vice President Joe Biden’s lead over incumbent President Donald Trump in Pennsylvania was large enough to avoid a mandatory recount under state law, according to the Associated Press. Biden came away with about 75% of Pennsylvania’s mailed-in votes between Nov. 4 and Nov. 6, according to an analysis by the AP. 

The primary reason for Biden’s drastic come-from-behind lead is that election officials are not allowed to process mail-in ballots until Election Day under Pennsylvania state law, according to the Pennsylvania General Assembly. The Republican AGs argue in their brief the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s ruling exacerbated the innate fraud risks of absentee voting. 

“Overwhelming public evidence demonstrates that voting by mail presents unique opportunities for fraud and abuse, opportunities which unscrupulous actors have often exploited,” the brief’s text read. “The decision below exacerbated these risks.”

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