Trump Campaign Suggests Allowing Pennsylvania Legislature to Pick Electors

November 19, 2020 Updated: November 19, 2020

The Trump campaign has suggested to a federal judge in Pennsylvania that he should let the Republican-controlled state legislature select electors to cast votes in the U.S. Electoral College system.

The campaign made the suggestion to U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann in a proposed revised complaint, filed on Nov. 18, in a case alleging that the state’s election process violated the Constitution because of differing standards of verification and transparency for mail-in versus in-person voters.

“This court should enter an order, declaration, and/or injunction that the results of the 2020 presidential general election are defective and providing for the Pennsylvania General Assembly to choose Pennsylvania’s electors,” the campaign wrote in its second amended complaint (pdf). The draft complaint was attached to a motion requesting the court to afford the campaign an opportunity to amend their claims in the case.

The lawsuit seeks to block the state from certifying its election results, or to block the certification of results that include mail-in ballots that didn’t meet statutory requirements, were cured without authorization, or were cast in violation of the law. The campaign’s suggestion to allow the state legislature to decide electors was proposed as an alternative to the invalidation of votes.

The campaign argued that it believes “statistical analysis” will find that “over 70,000 mail and other mail ballots which favor” Democratic nominee Joe Biden “were improperly counted” and “sufficient to turn the election.”

President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani asked the judge during a court hearing on Nov. 17 whether the campaign could file a new complaint because it had erroneously removed their due process claim during one of their revisions of the complaint.

The Trump campaign also reinstated its claims that the due process, equal protection, and elections and electors clauses were violated when campaign poll watchers were denied access to “meaningfully” observe the ballot-counting process. These claims were also removed in their amended complaint.

It also alleged that Democrats that controlled the county election boards named in the lawsuit engaged in a “deliberate scheme of intentional and purposeful discrimination to favor Biden over Trump.” The election officials, the campaign claims, excluded Republican and Trump campaign poll observers from watching the counting of mail-in ballots to hide their decision to count ballots that should have been disqualified because of irregularities.

During the Nov. 17 hearing, Giuliani argued that “widespread nationwide voter fraud” claims weren’t isolated and had been argued in courts in “at least 10 other jurisdictions,” in a bid to keep the lawsuit alive.

Lawyers for the defendants, who filed motions to dismiss the case, took issue with Giuliani’s arguments. Mark Aronchick, who represented some state counties’ election boards, was critical of the allegations of fraud.

“Mr. Giuliani is talking about another case, some invented case, some fantasy world case. But the case before your honor, they removed those allegations,” Aronchick said in his arguments.

“Dismiss this case, please dismiss this case, so we can move on to the real business of this country,” he urged the judge.

Giuliani and Trump’s legal adviser Jenna Ellis held a press conference on Nov. 19 to talk about the campaign’s lawsuits and explain their “very clear and viable path to victory,” according to Trump. The campaign said during the briefing that it would file a new lawsuit in Georgia.

The Trump campaign on Nov. 19 said that it was withdrawing its lawsuit in Michigan after obtaining “relief” in Wayne County. The statement came after two county canvassers signed affidavits saying they want to rescind their votes and alleged they were threatened on Nov. 17 to certify election results in the county, which includes the Democratic stronghold of Detroit.

Jack Phillips contributed to this report.

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