On Nov 25., Patricia McCullough, a Pennsylvania judge, ordered state officials not to verify the results of the 2020 presidential election until her court holds a hearing on Nov. 27 concerning an election dispute.
Just a day before that, Tom Wolf said he had certified Democrat Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election in Pennsylvania. In reaction, Wolf’s administration quickly asked the state Supreme Court to block the ruling from taking effect.
However, commonwealth Judge Patricia McCullough furthermore ordered the state to not take any new actions to complete the official verification of the governmental race, which the state publicized on Nov. 24. She also blocked the accreditation of all the other election results.
The judge wrote in her order: “To the extent that there remains any further action to perfect the certification of the results of the 2020 General Election for the offices of President and Vice President of the United States of America, respondents are preliminarily enjoined from doing so, pending an evidentiary hearing to be held on Friday,” (pdf).
Judge McCullough will be presiding over a suit filed by Republican lawmakers and candidates against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Democratic Governor Tom Wolf, Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, and the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
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“Respondents are preliminarily enjoined from certifying the remaining results of the election, pending the evidentiary hearing.”The plaintiffs allege that Pennsylvania’s vote-by-mail statute — Act 77 — remains in the offense to the state’s constitution. Act 77 is the most extensive and essential change to the Pennsylvania voting code, carried out illegally, to date,” the claim, filed in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, states.
” As with previous historic attempts to unlawfully broaden mail-in voting by statute, which have actually been overruled going as far back as the Military Absentee Ballot Act of 1839, Act 77 is another illegal effort to bypass the restrictions on absentee ballot prescribed in the Pennsylvania Constitution, without first following the needed procedure to change the constitution to allow for the expansion.”
Governor Wolf has declined to comment. It’s unclear what steps remained as of Nov. 25 to “best” the accreditation of the presidential and vice-presidential races.
After the Keystone State announced the accreditation of the governmental election results on Nov. 24, the plaintiffs filed an emergency situation request (pdf) late that night arguing that there was no need to act so quickly. In 2016, Pennsylvania authorized the governmental election on Dec.12.
The plaintiffs wrote: “It appears that respondents’ actions may have been sped up in response to the application for emergency relief … in an effort to prevent any restorative action by this court quicker than this court had the ability to assess the application for emergency relief and the answers to it.”
The emergency request stressed that while Pennsylvania finished vote-counting and sent the signed certification to the U.S. archivist, a variety of steps still remain for the official certification process to be finalized.
” While Respondents might have proactively attempted to prevent possible injunctive relief granted by this Court, Respondents responsibilities with regard to completion of the complete election results are far from complete,” the filing states.
A top attorney Marc Elias, among others leading the Democrats’ post-election legal contests, said the was suit trivial.
On Nov 21 Elias wrote on Twitter: “Republican Congressman Mike Kelly has filed a brand-new pointless lawsuit in Pennsylvania looking to obstruct the state from licensing the election results and having the state legislature state choose electors. This is absolutely shameful.”
President Donald Trump reacted to Elias on his Twitter feed. He wrote: “This is not at all pointless. It is caused on behalf of one of the most reputable members of the United States Congress who is disgusted, thus numerous others, by an Election that is a deceptive mess. Fake tallies, dead people voting, no Republican Poll Watchers enabled, & more!”
On Oct. 31, 201, Wolf signed Act 77 into law on Oct. 31, 2019. Eight of the nine sponsors of the bill in the Pennsylvania Senate were Republicans.
Responding to the order, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro stated that it doesn’t affect the Nov. 24 certification of electors.
Other state officials and Boockvar tendered a notification of appeal on Nov. 25 telling the court that they were going to appeal McCullough’s decision to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.