Pennsylvania Officials Appeal Judge’s Order Blocking Certification of Election Results

Pennsylvania Officials Appeal Judge’s Order Blocking Certification of Election Results
Electoral workers began processing ballots at Northampton County Courthouse in Easton, Penn., on Nov. 3, 2020. (Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty Images)
Janita Kan

Pennsylvania officials are appealing a court order blocking the state from certifying the results of the 2020 election until the court holds a hearing on an election contest.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf, and Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar filed a notice to appeal (pdf) to Pennsylvania Supreme Court shortly after a state judge issued a ruling enjoining the officials from taking further steps to complete the certification of the presidential race. Pennsylvania announced the certification of the 2020 general election results on Nov. 24.
Commonwealth Judge Patricia McCullough did not give reasons for her ruling but said the state was temporarily blocked from completing the certification until an evidentiary hearing takes place on Nov. 27 (pdf).
Responding to the ruling, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said the order did not impact the appointment of the presidential electors.
The case at hand—cited as Kelly v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania—alleged Act 77, a state law that made no-excuse voting by mail legal in the state, violated the state’s constitution.
“Act 77 is another illegal attempt to override the limitations on absentee voting prescribed in the Pennsylvania Constitution, without first following the necessary procedure to amend the constitution to allow for the expansion,” the lawsuit claimed (pdf).

The plaintiffs include Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), Republican congressional candidate Sean Parnell, and Pennsylvania House of Representatives candidate Wanda Logan.

Marc Elias, one of the attorneys leading the Democrats’ post-election legal battles, responded to the lawsuit describing it as frivolous.

“Republican Congressman Mike Kelly has filed a new frivolous lawsuit in Pennsylvania seeking to block the state from certifying the election results and having the state legislature choose electors,” Elias wrote on Twitter. “This is absolutely shameful.”

Following the announcement of the state’s certification, the plaintiffs filed an emergency request just before midnight on Nov. 24, arguing that the state officials did not have to rush the process.

“It appears that respondents’ actions may have been accelerated in response to the application for emergency relief … in an effort to preclude any remedial action by this court faster than this court was able to evaluate the application for emergency relief and the answers to it,” the plaintiffs wrote in their filing (pdf).

The case was filed days after a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit by President Donald Trump’s campaign seeking an injunction that blocks the Keystone State from certifying the results of the 2020 General Election. The campaign subsequently appealed the decision to the 3rd Circuit Court, which granted an expedited review of the case.

Rudy Giuliani, who is leading the Trump campaign’s election legal efforts, on Wednesday suggested that Pennsylvania GOP state senators have the power to vote and choose their own electors, citing voter fraud allegations.
Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.