Pennsylvania judge rules for Trump campaign, says secretary of state lacked authority to change ID deadline days before election
A Pennsylvania judge ruled in favor of the Trump campaign on Thursday, ordering that the state may not count ballots where voters did not provide proof of identification before Nov. 9. Existing Pennsylvania law states that voters have up to six days after the election to cure issues with a ballot, such as a lack of identification. Election Day was Nov. 3 this year, meaning that voters had until Nov. 9 to correct their ballots.
In September, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court ruled that mail-in ballots could be accepted three days after Election Day. The issue went to the U.S. Supreme Court, and following a 4-4 tie, Pennsylvania was permitted to accept ballots three days after Election Day.
Two days before Election Day, Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar (D), who oversees elections in the state, issued a guidance that proof of ID could be provided up until Nov. 12 to cure ballots. President Trump’s legal team argued that Boockvar had no power to change the date. The ballots received from Nov. 10 through Nov. 12 were segregated until there was a ruling to determine if they would be counted or not.
On Thursday, Pennsylvania Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt ruled that Boockvar “lacked statutory authority” to enable an extension period to cure ballots.
“[T]he Court concludes that Respondent Kathy Boockvar, in her official capacity as Secretary of the Commonwealth, lacked statutory authority to issue the November 1, 2020, guidance to Respondents County Boards of Elections insofar as that guidance purported to change the deadline … for certain electors to verify proof of identification,” Leavitt said in a court order.
“Accordingly, the court hereby orders the respondents County Board of Elections are enjoined from counting any ballots that have been segregated pursuant to Paragraph 1 of this court’s order dated November 5, 2020, granting a special injunction,” Leavitt wrote.
“None of the votes affected by the ruling had yet been included in the state’s official tally,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. No indication was given on how many ballots were affected by Judge Leavitt’s ruling.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden currently holds a 54,325-vote lead over President Trump in Pennsylvania.