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Election Update: PA Supreme Court Issues Ruling

A challenge to Pennsylvania’s mail-in voting system was rejected Saturday by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Republican Rep. Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania and several other plaintiffs claimed that the state law that allowed mass mail-in ballots in the state was in violation of the state’s Constitution. The lawsuit had the potential to swing the state, because President Donald Trump appeared to carry the state based on in-person voting, but presumptive potential President-elect Joe Biden won it on the strength of mail-in votes.

The Trump campaign has insisted that there has been voter fraud in states that include Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin, as well as Pennsylvania. Despite multiple anecdotal claims of voting irregularities, proof has yet to surface that there was a widespread effort to distort the voting process in such as way that would have impacted the final results of the presidential election.

Kelly’s lawsuit was separate from those filed by the Trump campaign, but suffered the same fate as the campaign’s legal challenges in Pennsylvania, which the campaign has said it will take to the U,S, Supreme Court.

The lawsuit had appeared to gain traction last week after Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia McCullough said a hearing on the lawsuit had to be held before the state could certify the results of the election, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Plaintiff Sean Parnell indicated that despite the rejection of the Kelly lawsuit further legal action may be in the cards.

“It’s not over. This was not unexpected. Stay tuned,” he tweeted.

The result was panned by Jenna Ellis, an attorney representing the Trump campaign.

However, the judges were firm that the bid to throw out the mail-in ballots should be rejected.

“Petitioners sought to invalidate the ballots of the millions of Pennsylvania voters who utilized the mail-in voting procedures established by Act 77 and count only those ballots that Petitioners deem to be ‘legal votes.’ Alternatively, Petitioners advocated the extraordinary proposition that the court disenfranchise all 6.9 million Pennsylvanians who voted in the General Election and instead ‘direct[] the General Assembly to choose Pennsylvania’s electors,’” the court ruled.

The court said that the challenge to the 2019 law came far too late.

“Petitioners filed this facial challenge to the mail-in voting statutory provisions more than one year after the enactment of Act 77. At the time this action was filed on November 21, 2020, millions of Pennsylvania voters had already expressed their will in both the June 2020 Primary Election and the November 2020 General Election and the final ballots in the 2020 General Election were being tallied, with the results becoming seemingly apparent,” the court ruled.

“Nevertheless, Petitioners waited to commence this litigation until days before the county boards of election were required to certify the election results to the Secretary of the Commonwealth. Thus, it is beyond cavil that Petitioners failed to act with due diligence in presenting the instant claim. Equally clear is the substantial prejudice arising from Petitioners’ failure to institute promptly a facial challenge to the mail-in voting statutory scheme, as such inaction would result in the disenfranchisement of millions of Pennsylvania voters,” the court ruled in throwing out Kelly’s claim.

“Petitioners filed this facial challenge to the mail-in voting statutory provisions more than one year after the enactment of Act 77. At the time this action was filed on November 21, 2020, millions of Pennsylvania voters had already expressed their will in both the June 2020 Primary Election and the November 2020 General Election and the final ballots in the 2020 General Election were being tallied, with the results becoming seemingly apparent,” the ruling said.

“Nevertheless, Petitioners waited to commence this litigation until days before the county boards of election were required to certify the election results to the Secretary of the Commonwealth. Thus, it is beyond cavil that Petitioners failed to act with due diligence in presenting the instant claim. Equally clear is the substantial prejudice arising from Petitioners’ failure to institute promptly a facial challenge to the mail-in voting statutory scheme, as such inaction would result in the disenfranchisement of millions of Pennsylvania voters,” the ruling said.

“It is not our role to lend legitimacy to such transparent and untimely efforts to subvert the will of Pennsylvania voters,” Justice David Wecht wrote in a concurring opinion, according to Attorney General of Pennsylvania Josh Shapiro. “Courts should not decide elections when the will of the voters is clear.”

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