10 GOP Attorneys General Urge Supreme Court to Take Up Case on Pennsylvania Ballot Deadline Extension

November 9, 2020 Updated: November 10, 2020

A group of 10 attorneys general filed an amicus brief on Nov. 9 in support of a lawsuit from Pennsylvania Republicans and asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a ruling that extended the deadline for mail-in ballots in the state.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who led the amicus brief, said that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court had rewritten the law and encroached on the legislature’s authority when it ruled that mail-in ballots received a few days after the election can still be counted.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled on Sept. 17 that election officials can accept all mail-in ballots, including absentee ballots, up to three days after Election Day, citing the COVID-19 pandemic for the extension. Pennsylvania’s Republican leaders and state lawmakers, along with President Donald Trump’s campaign, have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to toss out Pennsylvania’s ruling and throw out all post-Election Day ballots.

The court filing was connected to the case Republican Party of Pennsylvania v. Boockvar, referring to Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, a Democrat.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost also filed a separate amicus brief on Nov. 9, and Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter was expected to file an amicus brief on Nov. 10 over the same case. The Supreme Court has yet to decide on whether to review the case.

Amicus (friend of the court) briefs are a way for outside parties to provide information and perspective to a legal case. Schmitt was joined by nine other Republican attorneys general representing the states of Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Texas.

Election workers
Election workers count ballots at the Philadelphia Convention Center in Philadelphia, Pa., on Nov. 6, 2020. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

“The Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision overstepped its constitutional responsibility, encroached on the authority of the Pennsylvania legislature, and violated the plain language of the Election Clauses,” reads the amicus brief (pdf). “Worse still, the decision exacerbated the risk of mail-in ballot fraud by permitting mail-in ballots that are not postmarked or have no legible postmark to be received and counted several days after the election.

“The decision provided a window of time after Election Day, when the preliminary results were announced, in which unscrupulous actors could attempt to influence a close Presidential election in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. And it enhanced the opportunities for fraud by requiring boards of elections to count late-received ballots even if there is no evidence that those ballots were cast before Election Day, because they have no legible postmark.”

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said at a Nov. 9 press conference: “In this particular case, we believe it’s akin to the referees changing the rules of the game midway through a football game. … We believe that’s exactly what the Pennsylvania Supreme Court did. The referees, which are the judges, don’t get to write the rules, that’s the Legislature. And unfortunately, here we believe that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court did exactly that by rewriting the law.”

A number of media outlets declared Democratic nominee Joe Biden as president-elect on Nov. 7, after projected victories in Pennsylvania and Nevada put him over the 270 electoral vote threshold.

President Donald Trump has alleged voter fraud and said any declarations of victory are premature, with his campaign announcing legal challenges in several states.

The Epoch Times Editorial Board will not declare a winner for the 2020 presidential election until all results are certified and any legal challenges are resolved across the country.

Jack Phillips contributed to this report.

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