A Pennsylvania appellate court on Thursday ruled in favor of guaranteeing Republican observers the right to watch ballot counts from no more than six feet away.
Commonwealth Judge Christine Fizzano Cannon, a Democrat, said that effective immediately “all candidates, watchers, or candidate representatives be permitted to be present for the canvassing process pursuant to 25 P.S. § 2650 and/or 25 P.S. § 3146.8 and be permitted to observe all aspects of the canvassing process within 6 feet, while adhering to all COVID-19 protocols, including, wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.”
“I can’t stress how big a victory this is,” President Donald Trump deputy campaign manager Justin Clark told reporters on a phone call.
Campaign officials said that observers had been forced to watch ballots being counted from as far away as 100 feet.
Election officials used a barricade and some type of security guard to keep observers from getting closer, Pam Bondi, a former Florida attorney general, told reporters in Philadelphia, outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center, where absentee ballots are being tabulated.
A team of 15 people were heading into the building to observe the process.
Trump’s campaign is planning additional legal action pertaining to ballots that have already been counted.
“If there is one illegal vote that is cast, it takes away from the great men and women of Pennsylvania who issued a legal vote,” Bondi said.
The Philadelphia City Commissioners said in a statement that the vote count was resuming just after noon following “a brief pause” in light of the ongoing litigation. “It has resumed in accordance with the law,” it said.
The city appealed the ruling to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
According to the appeal asking for an emergency review, the ruling “is wrong, and because it jeopardizes both the safety of the City Defendants’ canvass, plus the privacy of voters, immediate allowance of appeal is warranted.”
A court spokeswoman confirmed to The Epoch Times via email that the court received the appeal.
Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes are up for grabs, with Trump in the lead and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden not yet out of the running.
Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court earlier this year ruled that any ballots received by Nov. 6 and either postmarked by Nov. 3 or not definitively postmarked after Election Day must be counted.
According to unofficial results from the Pennsylvania Department of State on Thursday morning, Trump was ahead with 3.2 million votes to Biden’s 3 million.
Trump said late Wednesday that he won Pennsylvania.
Biden’s campaign has said they’re confident the final tally will see the Democrat on top.
Allen Zhong contributed to this report.