Federal Judge Rejects Trump Camp Lawsuit Targeting PA Ballot Drop Box Use

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 01: U.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters before departing the White House November 01, 2019 in Washington, DC. Trump is traveling to Tupelo, Mississippi, to speak at a 'Keep Americ... WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 01: U.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters before departing the White House November 01, 2019 in Washington, DC. Trump is traveling to Tupelo, Mississippi, to speak at a 'Keep America Great' campaign rally. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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October 10, 2020 2:02 p.m.

A federal judge ruled against the Trump campaign in its lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania’s use of ballot drop boxes and other aspects of the state’s voting process.

U.S. District Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan rejected the Trump campaign’s claims that a nebulous threat of voter fraud warranted a court intervention in how Pennsylvania was carrying out its election.

Ranjan concluded the Trump campaign had not proved that the measures it was challenging were inflicting the kind of harms that would make it appropriate for a court to adjudicate the allegations.

“While Plaintiffs may not need to prove actual voter fraud, they must at least prove that such fraud is ‘certainly impending.’ They haven’t met that burden,” Ranjan, who was appointed by President Trump, wrote.

Earlier in the case the judge requested that the campaign put forward evidence of fraud in Pennsylvania’s election. The documents the campaign submitted barely touched on the topic.

The Trump campaign argued in the lawsuit that the way Pennsylvania election officials were planning to utilize ballot drop boxes was unconstitutional. The state Supreme Court previously upheld Pennsylvania use of drop boxes as permissible under state law.

The campaign was also challenging guidance from Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar to local election officials that were not to reject mail ballots because of perceived signature mismatch. Additionally, the campaign went after Pennsylvania’s requirement that poll workers reside in the county they’re serving; the residency requirement has also been upheld by the state Supreme Court.

The judge said the Trump campaign’s allegations about these measures also failed on the merits.

Pennsylvania, a key swing state for Trump, has been the site of some of the most aggressive legal fights over voting during the pandemic.

The U.S. Supreme Court is currently weighing how to handle a separate request from state Republicans that the justices reverse the state Supreme Court’s extension of the deadline by when mail ballots must be received.

Read the opinion in the federal drop box case here.

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