Federal Judge Throws Out Trump Lawsuit in Pennsylvania

October 13, 2020 by Dan McCue
An example of an Election 2020 Ballot Box.

A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit filed by President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign in Pennsylvania, tossing out a challenge to the state’s drop boxes and poll-watching law.

The ruling is notable not just for how it related to the election to be held three weeks from today, but also because the judge who handed it down — U.S. District Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan — was appointed by the president.

In the underlying lawsuit, the Trump campaign asked the court to bar counties from using drop boxes or mobile sites to collect mail-in ballots that are not “staffed, secured, and employed consistently within and across all 67 of Pennsylvania’s counties.”

About a third of Pennsylvania’s counties have told the state elections office that they plan to use drop boxes and satellite election offices to help collect the massive number of mail-in ballots they expect to receive.

The Trump campaign also asked the court to allow county election officials to disqualify mail-in ballots where the voter’s signature may not match their signature on file and to remove a county residency requirement in state law for certified poll watchers.

In his ruling, Ranjan said the Trump campaign had failed to prove its claim that the president’s re-election is threatened by widespread election fraud and that only the rulings they sought would prevent that.

“While plaintiffs may not need to prove actual voter fraud, they must at least prove that such fraud is ‘certainly impending,’” Ranjan wrote. “They haven’t met that burden. At most, they have pieced together a sequence of uncertain assumptions.”

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf praised the ruling, saying it “affirms what we’ve long known … that Pennsylvania’s elections are safe, secure, and accurate, and residents can vote on Nov. 3rd with confidence that their votes will be counted and their voices heard.”

He added, “The ruling is a complete rejection of the continued misinformation about voter fraud and corruption, and those who seek to sow chaos and discord ahead of the upcoming election.”

The Trump campaign said it will immediately appeal the ruling and hopes for a speedy decision in its favor “that will further protect Pennsylvania voters from the Democrat’s radical voting system.”

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