A Pennsylvania court has ruled to halt the certification of election results in the state until Friday, pending a hearing that day over mail-in votes disqualification.
The order was penned by Judge Patricia A. McCullough in response to a case launched by Rep. Mike Kelly, congressional candidate Sean Parnell, and eight other petitioners claiming that the decision to allow for no-excuse absentee voting by mail was unconstitutional.
Judge McCullough entered a preliminary order on Wednesday that will temporarily halt the election certification — ironically, as the state governor already announced the presidential election results in Pennsylvania have already been certified.
“Inasmuch as respondents, based on their press release and briefs, have not undertaken certification of any of the other results of the election, for the office of the President and Vice President of the United States of America, respondents are preliminarily enjoined from certifying the remaining results of the election, pending the evidentiary hearing,” McCullough wrote
The court order came as respondents laid out other measures the court could take in a filing Tuesday night, which included preventing state electors from meeting on December 14.
“Because the electors, by law, must perform their duties at the ‘seat of government of this Commonwealth,’ this court may also enjoin Respondents from permitting the electors to assemble at such location,” the challengers said.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, however, quickly clarified on Twitter, that Judge McCullough’s ruling does not have “much impact” since the results of the presidential race have already been certified and the state’s 20 electors have been chosen.
This order does not impact yesterday’s appointment of electors. We will be filing an appeal with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court momentarily. https://t.co/wRzFwPvJIO
— AG Josh Shapiro (@PAAttorneyGen) November 25, 2020
“This order does not impact yesterday’s appointment of electors. We will be filing an appeal with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court momentarily,” Shapiro wrote.
On November 24, Democratic Governor Tom Wolf announced that he has signed the Certificate of Ascertainment for the slate of electors.
Today @PAStateDept certified the results of the November 3 election in Pennsylvania for president and vice president of the United States.
As required by federal law, I’ve signed the Certificate of Ascertainment for the slate of electors for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) November 24, 2020
“Today @PAStateDept certified the results of the November 3 election in Pennsylvania for president and vice president of the United States,” Wolf said.
“As required by federal law, I’ve signed the Certificate of Ascertainment for the slate of electors for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris,” he added.
The evidentiary hearing is scheduled for Friday.
In an update, CNN Election Law Analyst Rick Hasen said “the case has been appealed to the PA Supreme Court.”
“The appeal acts as an automatic stay unless lifted by the State Supreme Court,” he added.
Update: the case has been appealed to the PA Supreme Court and the appeal acts as an automatic stay unless lifted by the State Supreme Court:https://t.co/OeVgH6v7ME
— Rick Hasen (@rickhasen) November 25, 2020
The complaint filed by Rep. Kelly zeroed in on Act 77 of 2019 — which was signed by the Democratic governor and was referred to as “the most expansive and fundamental change to the Pennsylvania election code to date.” That law expanded mail-in voting to make it “more convenient” to vote even though Article VII, Section 14 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, which covers absentee voting, provided for a very narrow scope of who can do so.
The respondents alleged that Pennsylvania’s mail-in votes are “invalid” because in order to expand absentee voting, a constitutional amendment is required, not simply the passing of a bill.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, currently leads the Pennsylvania election by more than 80,000 votes against President Trump, according to various news outlets that have called the election in favor of the Democratic nominee.
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Source: The Scoop