Pennsylvania’s attorney general said he’s confident that a litigation blitz by President Donald Trump’s campaign won’t impact the vote in his state, while theRepublican National Committee signaled a drawn-out fight by bolstering its legal team in the closest swing states.
Trump’s legal claims challenging large numbers of votes as illegal or fraudulent are based on falsehoods that “fit a pattern of behavior from this president,” Josh Shapiro, the state’s top law enforcement officer, said in a phone interview Friday.
“First he makes an outrageous claim or tweet, then it gets amplified by his followers,” Shapiro said. “Sometimes a lawsuit gets filed and every time it gets dismissed because the president lacks facts and evidence to back up these lies about what’s happening here in Pennsylvania.”
The state’s 20 electoral votes are critical to the president, if current projections hold in the rest of the country.
Also on Friday, a Pennsylvania judge dismissed a suit brought by Republicans challenging an effort in Northampton County to tally in-person provisional ballots from people whose mail-in votes were flawed. The GOP claimed it was improper to alert voters about problems with their ballots. The judge said the claims lacked merit.
But late Friday, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito issued a temporary order requiring Pennsylvania officials to segregate ballots that arrived after Election Day, granting for now part of a request by the state’s Republican Party. Alito said he would refer the matter to the full high court for the next steps.
The state’s top elections official, Kathy Boockvar, said Thursday the number of late-arriving ballots would be only a “tiny fraction” of the 60,000 that were received in the three days after the primary in June. Democratic challenger Joe Biden was ahead by about 22,000 votes as of 9:30 p.m. in Philadelphia.
Cases in Georgia and Michigan met similar fates in recent days. In Nevada, a lawyer for two GOP candidates for Congress with ties to Trump’s campaign failed to get a restraining order against the state’s process of counting mail-in ballots.
The plaintiffs “haven’t demonstrated a likelihood of success,” U.S. District Judge Andrew Gordon in Las Vegas said after an emergency hearing on Friday. If they return “with more evidence,” he said, he’d reconsider the request.
Read More: GOP Comes Up Short in Challenge to Nevada Ballot Count Plan
Republicans haven’t been deterred. On Friday RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel announced the names of legal and media directors in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona and Georgia to “fight back” against what she said were Democratic efforts to disenfranchise voters.
“Democrats and their friends in the media spent four years talking about a Russia hoax on the grounds of election integrity,” McDaniel said in a statement. Now, she said, “they want to ignore clear irregularities, rush to call states as won, and end the election.”
Shapiro said the cases haven’t affected Pennsylvania’s work.
“There’s been a lot of activity, but there has been no material impact on the process,” he said. “Nothing has stopped the count and nothing has deterred these fine public servants across Pennsylvania from tallying up the votes so we can know the will of the people.”
— With assistance by Greg Stohr
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