Nov. 5, 2020 1:25 pm

Philly nonprofit legal orgs react to Trump campaign lawsuits

Generocity asked the Public Interest Law Center and the ACLU of Philadelphia to comment on the filings.

(Photo by Element5 Digital from Pexels)

The Trump campaign has filed multiple lawsuits in Pennsylvania calling for a halt to counting ballots as it challenges the state’s rules for election observers and the Commonwealth’s mail-in ballot deadline.

Generocity asked two of Philadelphia’s nonprofit legal organizations for comment.

The Public Interest Law Center

The Public Interest Law Center is working to make sure that lawful, timely votes cast in Pennsylvania are counted.Registered voters, no matter what party, have a right to be heard. They — and only they — should decide who our elected officials will be.

“The new lawsuits designed to stop or slow down that count harm all Pennsylvanians. Courts should continue to reject the claim by the Trump campaign that its observers have been denied access to oversee the process of counting mail-in ballots. Legally appointed observers are in the room where the count is occurring and can see the process. And anyone in the world can watch the count in Philadelphia via live stream. That is all Pennsylvania law requires.

“The courts also should reject challenges to ballots cast after voters were notified of a technical issue, such as a missing signature, and had the opportunity to fix it. Pennsylvania’s Election Code and its Constitution call for more, not less voter participation.

One hundred years of US Supreme Court precedent affirms that state election laws must comply with state constitutions, as interpreted by state courts.

“The United States Supreme Court should likewise refuse to hear an appeal from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision to extend the deadline for receipt of mail in ballots that are postmarked by Election Day. One hundred years of US Supreme Court precedent affirms that state election laws must comply with state constitutions, as interpreted by state courts. A decision to jettison this century of precedent would be a radical departure and it would vastly expand the power of federal courts over the local business of elections.

“Changing the deadline after Election Day would also be fundamentally unfair. A voter who dropped her mail-in ballot in a mailbox last week, or on Election Day, and whose ballot is delivered by Friday, has lawfully cast her ballot according to the rules for the election in place at the time. She followed the rules and her vote should count.”

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ACLU of Philadelphia

According to Andy Hoover, a spokesperson for the ACLU of Philadelphia: “We are analyzing these filings and determining if we can get involved to guarantee that every eligible vote is counted. Nothing in these legal filings would actually stop the count in Pennsylvania.

“The Trump campaign is engaged in a disinformation effort that is intended to sow chaos and confusion, to outrage their opponents and to excite their supporters. Still, if successful, these cases could impact thousands of eligible voters. Our goal is to make sure that every voter has their say, no matter who they voted for.”


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