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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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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Notable Replies

  1. Yay for Judge Nicholas Ranjan, who’s been appropriately skeptical throughout this case. Is his decision appealable, to the 3rd circuit court of appeals (6 - 8 obama/clinton vs bush/trump)?

  2. Reading all of the decisions on drop boxes it is clear that the Federal courts are not really interested in making sure people have more than a bare chance to vote. In several circuits Republican voter suppression is embraced. We don’t know what is going to happen to this case when it reaches the court of appeals. This is what happens when the Republican party is relentless in packing the courts with members of the Federalist Society and not very good ones a that. It looks like we are going to suffer from the same kind of lunacy that has followed every time the conservatives have had a chance to control the Senate for an extended period. Democrats have to do everything they can to gain and hold the Senate for at least the next decade.

  3. Trump and the broader GOP claim mail in voting is a Petri dish for voter fraud. Trump and the broader GOP also claim that our current voting procedure is rife with voter fraud. It’s obvious that the only safe approach is a return to primogeniture, which is especially timely now that the WH is occupied by God’s chosen one.

  4. Avatar for dave48 dave48 says:

    The more the Trump administration tries crap like this, the more likely he’ll lose by 12 or more percent. He’s pissing everyone off with theses stunts. I can’t imagine a more effective GOTV campaign for Democrats.

  5. “Petri dish”
    High voter turn out does not auger well for the Republicans.

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