10 Republican attorney generals file amicus brief with SC in Pennsylvania mail-in ballot case
Ten Republican attorney generals have filed an amicus brief with the US Supreme Court in a case seeking reversal of a lower court order allowing mail-in ballots in the key battleground state of Pennsylvania to be received three days after the election day.PTI | Washington DC | Updated: 10-11-2020 09:55 IST | Created: 10-11-2020 09:55 IST
Ten Republican attorney generals have filed an amicus brief with the US Supreme Court in a case seeking reversal of a lower court order allowing mail-in ballots in the key battleground state of Pennsylvania to be received three days after the election day. Alleging that the order made by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court was unconstitutional, the attorney generals said the state overstepped its constitutional authority in accepting late ballots and violated the election clauses of the Constitution and that voting by mail creates voter fraud risks.
They also alleged that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's decision exacerbated risks of absentee ballot fraud. Republican Party of Pennsylvania has filed a case on this before the US Supreme Court. The Trump Campaign and the Republican Party believes that such a ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court gave undue advantage to the opposition Democratic Party. President Donald Trump, as per major US media outlets, lost the election in the key state of Pennsylvania that has crucial 20 electoral college votes. Trump lost to his Democratic Party rival Joe Biden who won more than 270 electoral college votes required to win the race to the White House.
In an interim order, the US Supreme Court has asked the State of Pennsylvania to set aside all the mail-in-ballots received after 8 pm on the election day on November 3. "Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our republic and it's one of the reasons why the United States is the envy of the world. We have to ensure that every legal vote cast is counted and that every illegal vote cast is not counted,” Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who led the multi-state brief, said during the press conference.
“To do so would disenfranchise millions of Americans and why we filed this brief today seeking the Supreme Court to take the Pennsylvania case and then reverse the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's decision," Schmitt said. Schmitt was joined by the attorneys generals of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Texas.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed a separate amicus brief in this case, also asking the Supreme Court to take up the issue and conclude that the actions of Pennsylvania's Supreme Court in ordering the extension were unconstitutional. Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter plans to file an amicus brief tomorrow in the same case. His brief argues that under the Constitution, state legislatures must choose the point to stop receiving absentee ballots and start counting votes, not state courts such as the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, said his office.
Hunter said the Pennsylvania Supreme Court improperly repealed the state legislature's deadline by writing in a new postmark deadline with an arbitrary three-day-after-Election-Day cutoff. The decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has consequences that could have a national ripple effect in future elections, the brief reads. It has created chaos that makes it impossible for state legislatures to know in advance whether the election rules they have enacted will or will not be reimagined by courts, the brief said.
Meanwhile, the Trump campaign on Monday filed a lawsuit in Pennsylvania alleging the creation and implementation of an illegal “two-tiered” voting system for the 2020 General Election. Pennsylvania's “two-track” system resulted in voters being held to different standards depending on how they chose to exercise their right to vote. In-person voters had to sign voter registrations, have those signatures checked against voter rolls, vote in a polling place monitored by statutorily-authorised poll observers, and have their votes counted in a transparent and verifiable open and observed manner, it said.
The Trump Campaign alleged that the state's mail-in voting, through which nearly 2.65 million votes were cast, lacked all of the hallmarks of transparency and verifiability that were present for in-person voters, including not adequately verifying the voter's identity, permitting ballots received up to three days after the election to be counted without any evidence of timely mailings, such as a postmark, and denying sufficient monitoring over the reviewing and counting of mail-in ballots. “Voters in Pennsylvania were held to different standards simply based on how they chose to cast their ballot, and we believe this two-tiered election system resulted in potentially fraudulent votes being counted without proper verification or oversight, as well as many voters being disenfranchised simply for casting their votes in-person,” said Matt Morgan, Trump 2020 campaign general counsel.
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