Federal judge agrees to expedite Trump campaign’s lawsuit over vote-by-mail in Pennsylvania

Written by on July 20, 2020

Federal judge agrees to expedite Trump campaign’s lawsuit over vote-by-mail in Pennsylvania 

U.S. District Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan has limited the scope of discovery.

By Emily Previti, PA Post

July 20, 2020

FILE – In this Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020 file photo, Chester County election workers process mail-in and absentee ballots for the 2020 general election in the United States at West Chester University in West Chester, Pa. On Friday, Dec. 4, 2020, The Associated Press reported on stories circulating online incorrectly asserting that Pennsylvania election officials mailed out 1.8 million ballots but counted votes from more than 2.5 mailed ballots. The false statistic combines data from Pennsylvania’s June primary election, in which 1.8 million voters requested vote-by-mail ballots, and data from the general election, in which voters mailed back more than 2.6 million ballots that were counted. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

A federal judge has agreed to fast track the lawsuit filed by President Donald Trump’s election campaign against Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar and the commonwealth’s 67 county election boards over vote-by-mail procedures.

U.S. District Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan limited the scope of discovery, however, to the information counties and the Department of State already have assembled for a report on the June 2 primary that’s due to be submitted by August 1 to the state legislature.

In his order issued Friday, Ranjan wrote he’s attempting to balance the need to expedite the case given that the election is only 15 weeks away with counties’ “competing obligations to administer the upcoming general election.”

The judge scheduled arguments to begin Tuesday, Sept. 22 in Pittsburgh in the order; however, Ranjan will still consider motions to dismiss due next week.

In its lawsuit, Trump’s campaign wants to require counties to reject mailed ballots that arrive without a secrecy envelope, and limit in-person ballot delivery to official county election offices. The suit also seeks to allow Pennsylvanians to serve as poll watchers in any county, not just their county of residence as under current law.

Pennsylvania Democrats, meanwhile, filed suit in state court last week seeking to undermine the Trump campaign’s arguments. Democrats argue that the Trump campaign’s efforts amount to voter suppression.

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