- The Trump campaign’s new major lawsuit in Pennsylvania alleges that voter fraud potentially happened in only two counties.
- Both counties, Fayette and Luzerne, voted for President Donald Trump.
- The news articles cited in the lawsuit to bolster its claims reported that local officials were addressing the irregularities before Election Day.
- The lawsuit also doesn’t offer any basis for the kind of widespread voter fraud that Trump has repeatedly alleged without any evidence.
- Trump and other Republicans have filed over a dozen lawsuits contesting the 2020 election. Their main efforts are in Pennsylvania, which gave President-elect Joe Biden enough electoral votes to clinch the race.
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On Monday, the Trump campaign filed an 85-page lawsuit asking a federal judge to block Pennsylvania’s secretary of state from certifying the results of the presidential election.
The lawsuit seeks to block President-elect Joe Biden from formally receiving the state’s 20 electoral votes, which would reduce his overall total but would be unlikely to reverse the election result.
The lawsuit makes several claims of irregularities in how votes were counted, citing unnamed poll watchers and election observers. It also accuses Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar of giving improper guidance to election officials for processing mail-in ballots.
But the filing cites only two specific instances of potential voter fraud, Adam Klasfeld reported for Law & Crime. Both are in counties that voted heavily for President Donald Trump.
If votes were thrown out in those areas, they could widen the gap of 45,000 votes (and counting) between Biden and Trump in the state.
As the news articles cited in the lawsuit pointed out, authorities had already addressed the issues that opened the door for voter fraud well before Election Day. And the lawsuits do not offer any evidence of the kind of widespread voter fraud Trump has repeatedly and baselessly alleged.
- The lawsuit says that in Fayette County, some voters received two ballots in the mail while others received ballots that had already been filled out. The lawyers representing the Trump campaign argued that both situations could lead to voter fraud.
It cites two local news articles from October to back up the claims. One of the articles, about duplicate ballots, reported that the county election board had already resolved the issue. Other reports about ballots in the county being prefilled said election officials were addressing that issue as well.
Trump won nearly 67% of the vote in Fayette County, according to data from Decision Desk HQ and Insider.
- The lawsuit says that in Luzerne County, a “temporary seasonal elections worker” threw out nine military ballots that were in unmarked envelopes. It’s not clear whether those ballots were for the primary or the general election.
The lawsuit cites a local news article from September — which also reported that the incident was under investigation and that the county had already changed its rules to prevent similar issues.
About 57% of voters in the county voted for Trump, according to data from Decision Desk HQ and Insider.
The lawsuit doesn’t name Luzerne County or Fayette County as defendants, but it does go after the election boards in the counties of Allegheny, Centre, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Northampton, and Philadelphia — all based on allegations of irregularities from anonymous poll watchers and election watchers. Voters in all those counties preferred Biden to Trump, according to Decision Desk HQ data.
In arguing that voter fraud overall is a significant risk in Pennsylvania, the lawyers cited only three cases over a 21-year period in the entire state.
Election experts have said voter fraud is extremely rare. A 2020 analysis from the right-wing Heritage Foundation found that a very small percentage of votes cast resulted in any kind of criminal conviction.
The lawsuit’s arguments about problems with how mail-in ballots were processed “make no sense,” Richard Briffault, a Columbia Law School professor who studies election litigation, told Insider.
“In effect, they are saying the mailed-in ballots are unconstitutional, which is ludicrous,” Briffault said. “In any event, any challenges to PA’s mailed-ballot procedures that were on the books prior to Election Day (and not imposed by a court) could have and so should have been brought before the election, and so should be thrown out for that reason alone.”
The new lawsuit is one of more than a dozen the Trump campaign and other Republicans have filed across the country seeking to undermine the 2020 election result. Pennsylvania is particularly important because its 20 electoral votes ensured Biden’s victory.
But even if the highly unlikely happens and Biden’s electoral votes in Pennsylvania aren’t certified because of this lawsuit, Trump would still have to win Arizona, Georgia, and Alaska to secure the 270 electoral votes necessary to win the presidency. Of those, he is expected to win only Alaska and its three electoral votes.
The Trump campaign is also seeking to join a Supreme Court case over the validity of mail-in ballots that arrived at processing centers after Election Day. But it’s unlikely that there are enough such ballots to overcome Biden’s lead.
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