search
Sections List
American Journal News

Republicans file last-minute lawsuits to stop votes from being counted

The lawsuits are ‘designed to generate the appearance of a cloud over the election,’ a Biden legal team attorney said.

By Associated Press - November 03, 2020
Share
Woman in mask with I Voted sticker

Republicans are keeping their legal options open to challenge absentee ballots in Pennsylvania, if the battleground state could swing Donald Trump’s reelection. A top Democratic lawyer says the suits are meant to sow doubt about the results and lack merit.

Two federal lawsuits aim to prevent absentee votes from being counted. The GOP already has laid the groundwork at the Supreme Court for an effort to exclude ballots that arrive after polls close Tuesday. Trump has railed over several days about the high court’s pre-election refusal to rule out those ballots.

“You have to have numbers. You can’t have these things delayed for many days and maybe weeks. You can’t do that. The whole world is waiting,” Trump said Tuesday at his campaign headquarters.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Pennsylvania, Republicans accused county officials in Democratic-leaning Montgomery County of improperly giving voters a chance to fix problems with their mail-in ballots before Tuesday. A county spokeswoman said state law doesn’t ban the practice. A federal judge in Philadelphia has set a hearing for Wednesday morning on the Republican bid to stop the count of 49 ballots that were amended in the suburban Philadelphia county.

On Tuesday night in Pennsylvania, Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly and five other plaintiffs filed suit in state court to block the state’s counties from allowing voters whose mail-in ballots were disqualified to cast a vote by provisional ballot.

None of the suits will matter in the long run unless the gap between Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden is so small that a few thousand votes, or even a few hundred, could make the difference.

Biden legal team attorney Bob Bauer said in a call with reporters on Tuesday that many lawsuits fronted by the GOP the around the country were designed only to get attention and to arouse unnecessary concern in voters, unsupported by any true legal basis.

“They’re designed to generate the appearance of a cloud over the election,” he said.

Since the 2000 presidential election, which was ultimately decided by the Supreme Court, both parties have marshaled legal teams to prepare for the unlikely event that voting doesn’t settle the contest. This year, there is a near presumption that legal fights will ensue and that only a definitive outcome is likely to forestall them.

Even before Election Day, the 2020 race was the most litigated in memory.

With early voting numbers eclipsing 2016 figures, there’s already been roughly 300 election-related lawsuits filed in dozens of states across the country. Many involve changes to normal procedures because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 230,000 people in the U.S. and sickened more than 9 million. Legal battles ensued over signature matches, drop boxes and secrecy envelopes.

The candidates and parties have enlisted prominent lawyers with ties to Democratic and Republican administrations should that litigation take on a new urgency.

The Pennsylvania case at the Supreme Court pits Donald Verrilli, who was President Barack Obama’s top Supreme Court lawyer, against John Gore, a onetime high-ranking Trump Justice Department official.

Trump said this weekend he was headed to court to prevent Pennsylvania from counting mailed ballots that are received in the three days after the election. An extension was ordered by Pennsylvania’s top court. The Supreme Court left that order in place in response to a Republican effort to block it.

Trump is unhappy over the decision, even though Pennsylvania will keep those ballots separate from the rest in case of renewed court interest. He spent much of his final days of campaigning railing against the decision, often employing inaccurate characterizations that it would allow “rampant and unchecked cheating” as well as undermine the law and even foster street violence. No evidence supports that view.

Like Pennsylvania, North Carolina has seen a court fight between Democrats who support extending the deadline for absentee ballots and Republicans who oppose it. The six-day extension was approved by a state court.

In Minnesota, late-arriving ballots also will be segregated from the rest of the vote because of ongoing litigation, under a federal appeals court order.

Republican lawsuits have challenged local decisions that could take on national significance in a close election.

In Texas, Republicans asked state and federal courts to order election officials in the Houston area not to count ballots dropped off at drive-in locations. The Texas Supreme Court on Sunday denied the GOP’s plea. On Monday, a federal judge also turned away the effort to invalidate the nearly 127,000 votes. Appeals were planned.

In Nevada, a state court judge rejected a bid by the Trump campaign and state Republicans to stop the count of mail-in ballots in Las Vegas, the state’s most populous and Democratic-leaning county. Republicans on Tuesday appealed to the state Supreme Court. Around 400,000 absentee ballots from Clark County have been returned and accepted as valid, according to state election data.

Most of the potential legal challenges are likely to stem from the huge increase in absentee balloting brought on by the pandemic. In Pennsylvania, elections officials won’t start processing those ballots until Election Day, and some counties have said they won’t begin counting those votes until the following day. Mailed ballots that don’t come inside a secrecy envelope have to be discarded, under a state Supreme Court ruling.

“I still can’t figure how counting and verifying absentee ballots is going to go in some of the battleground states like Pennsylvania,” said Ohio State University law professor Edward Foley, an election law expert.

Several conservative justices indicated they’d be open to taking the issue up after the election, especially if those late-arriving ballots could mean the difference in the state.

The legal issue is whether the extension ordered by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, relying on voter protections in the Pennsylvania constitution, violated the U.S. Constitution. The argument advanced by Republicans is that the Constitution gives state legislatures — not state courts — the power to decide how electoral votes are awarded, including whether absentee ballots received after Election Day can be counted.

Roughly 20 states allow for late-arriving ballots, but Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled legislature did not authorize an extension, even with the huge increase in mailed ballots because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Supreme Court generally does not second-guess state courts when they rely on their own constitutions. But Democrats were alarmed by Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s reference to the court’s 2000 Bush v. Gore decision that effectively decided the presidential election in favor of George W. Bush. Although it was not the majority opinion in the case, an opinion joined by three conservative justices in 2000 would have ruled for Bush because the Florida Supreme Court’s recount order usurped the legislature’s authority.

The Supreme Court has never cited Bush v. Gore as the basis for a decision of the court. Kavanaugh is one of three justices who worked for Bush in the Florida case 20 years ago. Chief Justice John Roberts and new Justice Amy Coney Barrett are the others.


AJ News
Get the latest news here first.

Tai News

Newsletter
Read More
Cannabis workers across Missouri begin push to unionize dispensaries 

Cannabis workers across Missouri begin push to unionize dispensaries 

By Rebecca Rivas - December 04, 2023
Curtis Hertel Jr. places public service over politics in Michigan congressional run

Curtis Hertel Jr. places public service over politics in Michigan congressional run

By Alyssa Burr - October 20, 2023
Republican Virginia Senate candidate Danny Diggs has ties to hate groups and extremists

Republican Virginia Senate candidate Danny Diggs has ties to hate groups and extremists

By Josh Israel - October 20, 2023
Demands grow for Wisconsin Supreme Court to redraw the state’s legislative maps

Demands grow for Wisconsin Supreme Court to redraw the state’s legislative maps

By Rebekah Sager - October 19, 2023
Pennsylvania elections 2023: A voter’s guide to the state Supreme Court race

Pennsylvania elections 2023: A voter’s guide to the state Supreme Court race

By Anna Gustafson - October 19, 2023
Pennsylvania elections 2023: What to know before you vote

Pennsylvania elections 2023: What to know before you vote

By Anna Gustafson - October 18, 2023
AJ News
Latest
Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

By Jesse Valentine - February 09, 2024
Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

By Annmarie Timmins, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 31, 2024
UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

By Ashley Murray, States Newsroom - January 24, 2024
Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

By Jesse Valentine - January 17, 2024
A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

By Bonnie Fuller - January 10, 2024
Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

By Danielle J. Brown, Maryland Matters - January 08, 2024
How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

By Jesse Valentine - January 05, 2024
NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

By Ethan DeWitt, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 04, 2024
Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

By Jesse Valentine - December 22, 2023
Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

By - December 15, 2023
Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

By Jesse Valentine - December 08, 2023
Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

By Jesse Valentine - December 07, 2023
Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

By Anna Liz Nichols, Michigan Advance - December 06, 2023
105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

By Jesse Valentine - December 05, 2023
For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - December 04, 2023
Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - November 30, 2023
Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

By Jesse Valentine - November 06, 2023
Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

By Jesse Valentine - November 03, 2023
Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

By Adam Ganucheau, Mississippi Today - October 24, 2023
Key takeaways from Monday’s U.S. Senate Ohio Republican primary debate

Key takeaways from Monday’s U.S. Senate Ohio Republican primary debate

By Nick Evans, Ohio Capital Journal - February 20, 2024
Human, financial costs of gun violence are growing dramatically, health care group says

Human, financial costs of gun violence are growing dramatically, health care group says

By Marty Schladen, Ohio Capital Journal - February 20, 2024
Mark Robinson gun raffle raises campaign finance questions

Mark Robinson gun raffle raises campaign finance questions

By Jesse Valentine - February 16, 2024
Abortion care and transgender health care are ‘parallel struggles’ in 2024 legislation

Abortion care and transgender health care are ‘parallel struggles’ in 2024 legislation

By Danielle J. Brown, Maryland Matters - February 16, 2024
Ohio Democrats introduce education bills for universal school meals, teacher pay raises

Ohio Democrats introduce education bills for universal school meals, teacher pay raises

By Susan Tebben, Ohio Capital Journal - February 15, 2024
Democrats dominate in getting bills to become laws, with leadership snagging the most wins

Democrats dominate in getting bills to become laws, with leadership snagging the most wins

By Dana DiFilippo, New Jersey Monitor - February 15, 2024