This morning we looked at a report from the Washington Post stating that the Trump campaign had backed off from one of its major claims in the lawsuit currently unfolding in Pennsylvania. It dealt with the hundreds of thousands of ballots allegedly processed without any witness oversight from the state GOP. I discussed the possible implications such a move could have for the campaign in terms of keeping any hope alive of having the state called for Trump instead of Joe Biden.
A bit later in the day, we received a message from the Trump campaign claiming that the central premise of the WaPo article was incorrect. They claim that they were simply “streamlining” the lawsuit, but the allegations regarding the 682,479 ballots in question are still very much part of it. Here’s a portion of their response.
On Sunday night, the Washington Post ran a complete mischaracterization of the Trump campaign’s litigation in Pennsylvania, erroneously claiming the campaign had dropped the claim of nearly 700,000 ballots processed illegally and in secret. The campaign did no such thing. In fact, because of a Friday ruling by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in an unrelated case, the campaign strategically decided to restructure its lawsuit to rely on claims of violations of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The claim that 682,479 ballots were improperly processed and counted is still very much part of the suit.
Paragraph 4 of the amended filing reads: “Allegheny and Philadelphia Counties alone received and processed 682,479 mail-in and absentee ballots without review by the political parties and candidates. These are unprecedented numbers in Pennsylvania’s elections history. Rather than engaging in an open and transparent process to give credibility to Pennsylvania’s brand-new voting system, the processes were hidden during the receipt, review, opening, and tabulation of those 682,479 votes.” See also paragraphs 132-150.
While the basis for the assertion may have changed a bit, focusing more on the Equal Protection Clause, it’s true that their filing still contains the original references to the nearly 700,000 ballots. So if the court agrees to go further down that path, things may not be quite as dark for the campaign’s prospects as they appeared last night.
With that said, the original concerns I raised earlier today are still lingering out there. Let’s start with the idea that this huge volume of mail-in ballots was received and entered into the original count without the state GOP having the ability to monitor the process. (For the record, the State Attorney General denies this assertion.) Even if that’s true, that’s not a clear indication that the ballots were fraudulent, spoiled or in some other fashion improperly entered. Wouldn’t the court be more likely to, at best, call for the ballots to be pulled back and examined? They’re not simply going to toss them all, right?
If the ballots were properly filled out by the voters and submitted prior to the deadline, it’s not the voters’ fault that the state didn’t follow the correct process when entering and recording them. It just strikes me as highly unlikely that the court would wipe out the better part of three-quarters of a million votes in a closely contested state on that basis. As I mentioned this morning, I think the best we could hope for is an order to recanvass the entire batch with the proper observers on hand.
But even if that happens, Biden took the lion’s share of the mail-in vote because Democrats were far more willing to embrace the mass mail-in voting scheme idea than Republicans. A recanvass might not do anything but further solidify the lead that the media has been claiming Biden has all along.
In the interest of clarity, however, we should make a point of noting that the Washington Post story clearly got a key element of their reporting wrong. The paragraphs dealing with the votes that were counted “in secret” are still in the filing. And they will remain a bone of contention until the court system finishes dealing with these challenges.