Won’t somebody think of the in-person voters? That’s the crux of a federal suit President Donald Trump’s campaign filed Monday to try and stop Pennsylvania from certifying ex-Vice President Joe Biden the winner of the swing state’s 20 electoral votes—asserting that voting by mail is much easier, and harder to regulate, than voting in person. The lawsuit points to the Supreme Court’s notorious 2000 decision that effectively awarded the White House to then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush by halting county-level recounts in Florida, on the grounds the localities had inconsistent practices which the majority of justices argued gave preference to some voters over others. “In a rush to count mail ballots and ensure Democrat Joe Biden is elected, Pennsylvania has created an illegal two-tiered voting system for the 2020 General Election, devaluing in-person votes,” the lawsuit reads.
The lawsuit rehashes other past complaints about the process in Pennsylvania, including about postal voters being allowed to correct errors by casting provisional ballots, about Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar’s guidance to county election officials allegedly usurping authority that rightfully belonged to the Republican-controlled state legislature, and about Trump campaign observers only being allowed to watch the counting of votes from several yards away due to COVID-19 restrictions. The campaign briefly obtained a favorable ruling from a state court on the last matter, but the judge’s order was stayed after Philadelphia city officials and the Pennsylvania Democratic Party appealed.
The latest federal lawsuit followed the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision Monday to hear the Philadelphia appeal, and GOP state Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman signaling he would not intervene to hand Pennsylvania’s electors to Trump. Although the Trump campaign filed this suit against Boockvar, the state’s mail-in ballot procedure is largely the product of fraught negotiations between the Republican statehouse and Gov. Tom Wolf.