Trump’s Pennsylvania lawsuit was already a long shot. It still is
While the campaign has loudly touted incorrect claims that poll watchers were denied meaningful access to ballot counting, the amended complaint, filed Sunday in federal, drops that accusation from the thrust of the suit. While accusations of blocked access are still included in the complaint, the Trump campaign is now asking a federal court for relief based on accusations that election officials in Democratic-leaning areas of the state improperly contacted voters and allowed them to fix deficiencies in their absentee ballots. It’s an issue believed to affect a small number of ballots in Pennsylvania and nowhere near the 69,140 vote lead Joe Biden has over Donald Trump in Pennsylvania.
The Trump campaign strongly denied it had narrowed its suit.
“We are still arguing that 682,479 ballots were counted illegally, in secret,” Tim Murtaugh, a campaign spokesman said in a statement. “Our poll watchers were denied meaningful access to watch the vote counting and we still incorporate that claim in our complaint.”
The campaign’s initial complaint, filed last week, alleged multiple constitutional violations based on the accusations that observers were excluded. The campaign dropped those claims from its revised suit.
Experts noted that the initial complaint was legally dubious because it was based on a theory that all voters, regardless of whether they cast their votes by mail or in person, had to have their ballots counted through an identical process. But because mail-in balloting is different than voting in person, states use different processes for counting mail ballots than they do for in person ones. By focusing instead on the way different counties gave voters different opportunities to fix their mail-in ballots, the new complaint seems to be an attempt to focus that generalized allegation.
The filing came after Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, the firm that had been handling the case, withdrew from representing the campaign last week.
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