Republicans Sue to Block Pennsylvania Election Certification

November 22, 2020 Updated: November 22, 2020

A group of Republican politicians sued Pennsylvania on Nov. 21 seeking to block the certification of the election results in the commonwealth by arguing that its vote-by-mail statute violates the state’s constitution.

The lawsuit argues that Act 77, a law that made voting by mail without an excuse legal in Pennsylvania, violates the Keystone State’s constitution.

“Act 77 is the most expansive and fundamental change to the Pennsylvania voting code, implemented illegally, to date,” the lawsuit, filed in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, states. “As with prior historical attempts to illegally expand mail-in voting by statute, which have been struck down going as far back as the Military Absentee Ballot Act of 1839, 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 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 top attorneys leading the Democrats’ post-election legal battles, called the lawsuit “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.”

President Donald Trump responded to Elias, writing: “This is not at all frivolous. It is brought on behalf of one of the most respected members of the United States Congress who is disgusted, like so many others, by an Election that is a fraudulent mess. Fake ballots, dead people voting, no Republican Poll Watchers allowed, & more!”

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, signed Act 77 into law on Oct. 31, 2019. Eight of the nine of the bill’s sponsors in the Pennsylvania Senate were Republicans.

The Republicans filed the suit not long before a federal judge dismissed a Trump campaign lawsuit in Pennsylvania. Some of the campaign’s arguments in that case revolved around voting by mail, including a claim that more than 682,000 mail ballots were processed without Republican observers present. Rudy Giuliani, the lead attorney on Trump’s election legal team, said the dismissal helped speed the suit along to the Supreme Court.

“Today’s decision turns out to help us in our strategy to get expeditiously to the U.S. Supreme Court,” Giuliani said in a statement. “Although we fully disagree with this opinion, we’re thankful to the Obama-appointed judge for making this anticipated decision quickly, rather than simply trying to run out the clock.”

Follow Ivan on Twitter: @ivanpentchoukov