A federal judge in Pennsylvania has thrown out a lawsuit filed by President Donald Trump’s campaign, dismissing the battleground state’s challenges to efforts to limit how mail-in ballots can be collected and to its poll-watching law.
US District Judge J. Judge Nicholas Ranjan of the Western District of Pennsylvania court also refused to throw out policies in Pennsylvania requiring poll workers to live in the county where they will work on Election Day and allowing signatures on mail-in ballots to not exactly match the voters' signature on file with the state.
Ranjan also rejected Republicans' fears of voter fraud, saying it's possible that it could happen but not likely.
"While Plaintiffs may not need to prove actual voter fraud, they must at least prove that such fraud is 'certainly impending.' They haven't met that burden. At most, they have pieced together a sequence of uncertain assumptions," Ranjan wrote in the 138-page opinion.
"Dismiss all claims in this case." That's what a federal judge said this morning about the Trump Campaign's lawsuit against Pennsylvania and allegations of voter fraud. This is a win for voters and our democracy. We have been in court for months protecting the right to vote and working to get this outcome for all of you. Vote by mail or in person, however you choose. Your vote will count," said Attorney General Josh Shapiro.
Parts of the ruling could still be appealed by Trump’s campaign, with little more than three weeks to go until Election Day in a bellwether state that is likely to be closely contested by Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
Trump previously claimed that he could only lose the crucial battleground state of Pennsylvania if Democrats cheat and, claimed the that the city of Philadelphia needed to be watched particularly closely for election fraud
Ranjan, who was appointed to the bench by Trump, noted that Pennsylvania's state officials and state Supreme Court had settled many of the issues surrounding voting requirements ahead of the November poll.
"The Court finds that the election regulations put in place by the General Assembly and implemented by Defendants do not significantly burden any right to vote. They are rational. They further important state interests. They align with the Commonwealth's elaborate election-security measures. They do not run afoul of the United States Constitution. They will not otherwise be second-guessed by this Court," he wrote.
Pennsylvania's Supreme Court previously allowed election officials to count mail-in ballots received up to three days after the election, even if the postmark was illegible. Lawyers for the Republicans have filed an emergency petition with the high court asking it to block the decision.