Trump Campaign Lawsuit Over Ballot Drop Boxes is Placed on Hold
A lawsuit by President Donald Trump’s campaign seeking to block Pennsylvania counties from using drop boxes to collect mail-in ballots was put on hold Sunday by a federal judge who said state courts should have a chance to decide the matter first.
U.S. District Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan in Pittsburgh granted a request from the American Civil Liberties Union and other organizations to abstain from ruling on the matter, at least for now, while several related cases play out in state court. Ranjan said the Trump campaign could ask to revive the case if the state court matters take too long.
“After carefully considering the arguments raised by the parties, the Court finds that the appropriate course is abstention, at least for the time being,” Ranjan said. “The Court will apply the brakes to this lawsuit, and allow the Pennsylvania state courts to weigh in and interpret the state statutes that undergird Plaintiffs’ federal constitutional claims.”
Ranjan had previously ordered the Trump campaign to hand over evidence backing its claim that the planned shift to mail-in voting in Pennsylvania as a result of the coronavirus pandemic would lead to massive fraud. On Friday, the campaign submitted almost 300 documents to the ACLU purporting to back up the claim, though the ACLU says none of them related to election fraud involving drop boxes or mail-in voting.
“The Trump campaign’s claims are based on speculation,” ACLU attorney Sarah Brannon said in an interview.
Marc Elias, an election lawyer representing Democratic-linked parties in the case, said in a statement that Trump and the Republicans had hoped to avoid the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which is 5-2 Democratic. About 1.9 million Pennsylvanians have already requested mail ballots this year, compared with 107,000 in 2016, he said.
The campaign’s lawsuit aimed to block the state’s plan for drop boxes as well as prohibit the counting of ballots that lack a security envelope. The suit also aims to allow so-called poll watchers to observe in-person voting places even if they don’t reside in the county, as is required under state law.
Separately, a Trump tweet Sunday about ballot drop boxes received a “public interest” notice from Twitter, which said engagements with the tweet would be limited.
Twitter said Trump’s tweet, which said mail drop boxes “are not Covid sanitized,” made “misleading health claims that could potentially dissuade people from participation in voting.”
©2020 Bloomberg News
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
In The News
CONCORD, N.H. — A collection of 14 states have now signed amicus briefs backing New Hampshire in the state’s appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to determine whether jurisdictions may tax the income of remote workers who cannot commute to their workplaces. In October, New Hampshire... Read More
WASHINGTON -- Voting machine manufacturer Dominion Voting Systems Corp. sued former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell Friday in a lawsuit seeking $1.3 billion in damages for defamation. The lawsuit called Powell’s accusations that Dominion fraudulently deleted or changed votes to defeat President Donald Trump in the... Read More
Continued delays in the review of ballots cast two months ago in one New York county could mean the state's 22nd Congressional District will go without representation at the start of 117th Congress in January. During a State Supreme Court hearing on Monday, officials from Oneida... Read More
HOUSTON (AP) — A Tuesday court hearing over a U.S. program shielding immigrants brought to the country illegally as children highlights the peril the program still faces even under an incoming Democratic president who has pledged to protect it. A federal judge in Houston will hear arguments... Read More
ATLANTA — Voting rights groups have filed lawsuits against four Georgia counties for failing to offer sufficient early voting for the Jan. 5 runoff election. The New Georgia Project and Democracy Docket say Bibb, Clarke, Houston and Paulding counties are not offering early voting on a... Read More
WASHINGTON — Weeks after President Donald Trump said the Supreme Court should decide whether to throw out millions of ballots in what he dubbed a fraudulent election, and with state and federal courts rejecting nearly all his legal team's lawsuits in multiple states, a case from Pennsylvania has limped meekly to... Read More