Pennsylvania, like multiple other states, is attempting to limit how much exposure voters have to one another in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Traditional, in-person voting brings people together in tight proximity to one another, either as they’re waiting in line to vote or while they’re in the room with election judges and other voters as they cast their ballot.
As such, Pennsylvania has set up a process by which voters can vote by mail. Further, they don’t have to submit their votes through the regular United States Postal Service (USPS) process, rather, they can instead drop off their ballots at certain collection boxes set aside for just that purpose.
Donald Trump’s campaign had sought to block Pennsylvania counties from using those drop boxes to collect mail-in ballots and prohibit the state from counting any ballot that lacked a security envelope. Additionally, the suit wanted the court to allow “poll watchers” to observe in-person voting, even in counties in which they don’t reside, which is forbidden under state law.
Trump’s campaign sued in federal court, rather than a lower court. Marc Elias, a lawyer representing some of the parties in the case, said in a statement this was done so the Trump campaign wouldn’t risk having their case go before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which leans liberal by a 5-2 margin.
The American Civil Liberties Union and other organizations had asked the court to not rule on the matter, saying that related lawsuits in various state courts should play out first.
U.S. District Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan in Pittsburgh agreed and wrote he would effectively stop the lawsuit in its tracks for the time being.
“The Court will apply the brakes to this lawsuit, and allow the Pennsylvania state courts to weigh in and interpret the state statutes that undergird Plaintiffs’ federal constitutional claims,” he wrote.
His ruling did allow for the plaintiffs to file their lawsuit again if the state courts took too long to sort things out.
Trump has steadfastly opposed mail-in voting, claiming it would lead to a fraudulent election. Pennsylvania isn’t the only state his campaign has sued over the issue — as previously reported by The Inquisitr, his team has also filed a lawsuit against Nevada over that state’s attempts to expand voting by mail.