Trump Campaign Retreats From Key Claim in Pennsylvania Suit

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -
Uncounted provisional ballots sit in boxes at the Schuylkill County Election Bureau in Pottsville, Pa., on Nov. 10. (Lindsey Shuey/The Republican-Herald via AP)

President Donald Trump’s campaign is withdrawing a central part of its lawsuit seeking to stop the certification of the election results in Pennsylvania, where Democrat Joe Biden claimed the win over Trump.

Ahead of a Tuesday hearing in the case, Trump’s campaign dropped the allegation that hundreds of thousands of mail-in and absentee ballots — 682,479, to be precise — were illegally processed without its representatives watching.

The campaign’s lawsuit, filed in federal court on Sunday, maintains the aim of blocking Pennsylvania from certifying a victory for Biden in the state, and it maintains its claim that Democratic voters were treated more favorably than Republican voters.

The remaining claim in the lawsuit centers on disqualifying ballots cast by voters who were given an opportunity to fix mail-in ballots that were going to be disqualified for a technicality.

The lawsuit charges that “Democratic-heavy counties” violated the law by identifying mail-in ballots before Election Day that had defects — such as lacking an inner “secrecy envelope” or lacking a voter’s signature on the outside envelope — so that the voter could fix it and ensure that their vote would count, called “curing.”

Republican-heavy counties “followed the law and did not provide a notice and cure process, disenfranchising many,” the lawsuit said.

Pennsylvania’s top election official, Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, a Democrat, responded in court on Sunday, asking the judge to dismiss the case. State courts are the proper jurisdiction for the subject, and the lawsuit contains no “plausible claim for relief on any legal theory,” the state’s lawyers wrote.

A key theme of Trump and his supporters has been their claim that Philadelphia — a Democratic bastion where Trump lost badly — had not allowed Trump’s campaign representatives to watch mail-in and absentee ballots processed and tabulated.