Stickers saying “I Voted Today” are given out to voters in the Democratic primary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., June 2, 2020. The city has provided masks, gloves, and hand sanitizers to poll workers and voters because of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and has also drastically decreased the number of polling places in use to accommodate the majority of voters who are expected to cast their vote by mail. REUTERS/Rachel Wisniewski

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, the Republican Party, and four Pennsylvania members of Congress filed a lawsuit in Pittsburgh on Monday. The lawsuit claims there was a “hazardous, hurried, and illegal” roll-out of mail-in voting during Pennsylvania’s primary and accused the defendants of choosing a path that “jeopardizes election security.” In a statement on the reelection campaign’s website, Senior Legal Advisor to Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. Jenna Ellis stated, “Shifting from an absentee voting system to one that pushes unmonitored vote-by-mail creates opportunities for fraud and encourages ballot harvesting where paid political operatives try to collect and deliver loose ballots.”

The lawsuit argues that voters used procedures not outlined in a new law during the June 2 primary, such as ballots being dropped off at collection sites rather than directly delivered to county elections offices. The suit sought an order either banning drop boxes for the November election or forcing their locations to be chosen, publicized, and monitored by poll watchers. The suit also sought to overturn a state requirement that poll watchers be residents of the county where they monitor voting.

On October 31, 2019, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed Act 77 of 2019 into law. Act 77 allowed residents to vote by mail up to 50 days before an election without an excuse and allowed voters to elect to permanently receive a ballot by mail. In addition, the law extended voter registration times and authorized a $90 million bond to assist counties with purchasing new voting systems.

The head of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party called the lawsuit an effort to suppress votes as a campaign tactic, adding that Democrats outpaced Republicans in voter applications for mail-in ballots. During the primary, 1.3 million Democrats requested absentee ballots, nearly two-and-a-half times the number of Republican voters who did so.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

President Trump’s campaign files federal lawsuit against Pennsylvania over mail-in ballots – WPXI – 6/29/2020
Allegheny County is specifically named in the lawsuit due to issues where some people were sent multiple ballots because of a glitch in the state’s system. The suit also mentions former Rep. Austin Murphy being indicted and convicted in Fayette County for forging absentee ballots for residents of a nursing home. The former police chief of Harmar Township, Richard Toney, is also named in the lawsuit. Toney pleaded guilty in 2014 to illegally soliciting absentee ballots to benefit his wife in a town council election.

Trump Campaign Sues Pennsylvania Over Mail-In Voting – Pittsburgh, PA Patch – 6/29/2020
President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, the Republican National Committee and several GOP Pennsylvania congressmen sued state and county elections officials Monday, asking a federal court to bar voting by mail in the state in the November election. The lawsuit alleges that the way the ballot boxes were used in the June 2 primary was unconstitutional.

Trump campaign sues Pennsylvania over vote-by-mail – The Washington Times – 6/29/2020
The Trump campaign filed a federal lawsuit Monday in Pennsylvania, saying it’s fighting for election security by opposing the state’s move to expand mail-in-voting ahead of November’s election.

Trump Campaign Sues Pennsylvania Over Mail-in Ballots – Newsmax – 6/29/2020
The suit alleges the issues are a result of the state’s “hazardous, hurried, and illegal implementation of unmonitored mail-in voting.” The suit is also requesting an order that prohibits the county election board from counting absentee and mail-in ballots that “lack a secrecy envelope” or have any text or symbols on envelopes identifying the voter’s identity, party affiliation or candidate preference.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

Marc E. Elias on Twitter, 6/29/2020: Let this sink in–In Pennsylvania, Trump and the GOP have sued to block the use of safe, secure, government owned, absentee ballot drop boxes. In the middle of a pandemic, they object to drop boxes! The @GOP is ruthlessly antidemocratic to its core.

Kristy Gnibus for Congress PA16 on Twitter, 6/29/2020: My opponent is suing along w/ Trump to suppress voters here in PA! We can’t allow this. Every vote must be heard this November! 🗳 voting by mail is safe AND secure. Pass it on and vote them OUT!

Elizabeth Harrington on Twitter, 6/29/2020: Democrats are suing to: Legalize ballot harvesting in MI
Receive & count ballots after Election Day in WI
Strip ballot signature checks in PA
Translation: Democrats want their blue wall back & they think liberal activist judges will give it to them

Jonathan Lai on Twitter, 6/29/2020: There are very real weaknesses in Pennsylvania’s electoral system, and this month’s primary election showed us how seriously we should take them. Here are some nightmare scenarios for November — and what can be done to help prevent them.

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