Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismisses Trump challenge to vote

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismissed a Republican lawsuit seeking to invalidate the state’s mail-in ballots on Saturday evening, the latest legal defeat for Donald Trump in his unprecedented effort to overturn the result of the 2020 election.

The latest Pennsylvania lawsuit, led by Republican congressman Mike Kelly, was unanimously rejected by the state’s Supreme Court judges, who described it as an “extraordinary proposition that the court disenfranchise 6.9 million Pennsylvanians who voted in the general election”.

Five of the seven judges argued the case should be dismissed because the challenge had come too late, considering that the absentee voting procedures in the state had been established a year ago.

The court’s decision overturns an earlier hold on the state’s certification process made by Commonwealth Court judge Patricia McCullough.

Saturday’s ruling is the latest setback in the critical swing state of Pennsylvania for Republicans. It has added to the Trump campaign’s mounting legal losses as they continue to challenge the election results in swing states won by Democrat Joe Biden in the November 3 poll.

Last weekend, federal judge Matthew Brann dealt a critical blow to Republican efforts to overturn the election results by dismissing a lawsuit seeking to block the certification of Mr Biden’s win in Pennsylvania as being without evidence and unconstitutional. 

That ruling prompted Pat Toomey, the Republican senator from Pennsylvania, to call on the president to concede in a Saturday evening statement. “President Trump has exhausted all plausible legal options to challenge the result of the presidential race in Pennsylvania,” said Mr Toomey.

The Trump campaign’s appeal against that judgment was in turn dismissed on Friday, in a harshly worded ruling by a panel of Republican-appointed judges.

“Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy. Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here,” wrote Judge Stephanos Bibas, a Third Circuit Court of Appeals judge and Trump appointee.

In common with last weekend’s ruling, Saturday evening’s ruling was dismissed by judges with prejudice, meaning it cannot be refiled.

Mr Trump’s legal team have promised to take their case to the Supreme Court.

Michigan, Pennsylvania and Nevada have now all certified Mr Biden as the winner of their elections.

On Tuesday, Mr Trump said his administration would begin co-operating with Mr Biden’s transition team, bowing to Republican pressure to start the transfer of power although still refusing to concede.

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