President Donald Trump’s campaign is waging a legal war in Pennsylvania over alleged corruption in the election process, but the state’s top election official defended the “unprecedented” integrity of the election.
Pennsylvania has proven to be one of the greatest battles among the theaters of war, and Trump’s team has waged a legal war there. The campaign filed a lawsuit in Keystone State, accusing Philadelphia officials of trying to “steal” the President’s election.
Asked about election integrity in Pennsylvania, Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, the state’s chief election official, said Thursday that there are “very strong” processes in place to “ensure that the integrity and safety of voters is constantly monitored by all precincts of the state.
While anyone in Pennsylvania can request a postal ballot, Boockvar said that voters’ identities will be verified through the state’s social security or transportation systems and that their ballot will be checked again upon receipt to ensure that the person is a registered voter. She added that the same applies to personal voting and that additional systems and databases are in place to act as a “hard stop” for anyone trying to cast multiple votes.
“The strength of the integrity of this vote is truly unprecedented,” Boockvar said.
Washington Newsday asked the Trump campaign for comments, but did not receive a response in time for publication.
In Pennsylvania, a candidate’s election observers can “observe” the election process, but the Trump campaign has complained that it is impossible to verify that the ballots have been properly stamped and signed when held 20 or 30 feet from where the ballots were opened – two common problems that can invalidate a ballot.
On Thursday, Justin Clark, Assistant Campaign Manager and Senior Counsel for Trump 2020, announced victory in the Philadelphia lawsuit and said that observers would be allowed within 6 feet of the election process. He called it an “incredible legal victory” and urged that all other districts follow the “leadership of this judge”.
“The eyes of the country are on Pennsylvania, but the Pennsylvania Democrats, led by their radical leftist secretary of state whose only goal is to steal this election from President Trump, have kept their eyes off the counting of absentee ballots. This ends now in Philadelphia,” Clark said.
Announcing the trial of the Philadelphia campaign, Eric Trump, the president’s second oldest son, said it was the “last thing” the campaign would want to do, but added that “rampant corruption” could not happen.
On election night, Trump seemed to win a clear victory in Pennsylvania, a key state on his way to a second term. However, Pennsylvania law allows postal ballots to be counted up to three days after the election, and with each day that passed, his lead over Biden shrank.
On Thursday night, the President only had about 97,000 more votes than his Democratic challenger, and Biden is expected to gain ground if the postal votes continue to be counted. With the pollsters ahead of schedule in counting the ballots, Boockvar told CNN Pennsylvania that the winner could be determined on Thursday.
One reason why the determination of the winner takes so long, Boockvar said, is that it is such a tight race. Had there been enough leeway that the remaining votes could not have changed the outcome, the state could have been called to support one candidate or another.
With 20 votes, it is crucial that Trump wins the state, because if he doesn’t make it, Biden will be above the 270 vote threshold – even if Arizona, which the Associated Press has called for the Democrats ahead of schedule, tips over to Trump. But if Trump wins in Pennsylvania, he will win 234 votes and stay in the race.
Assuming the Associated Press’ call is for Arizona, Trump still needs to win the remaining four states – Nevada, North Carolina, Georgia and Alaska – to win 270 votes.
During the press conference, Boockvar did not give a final answer to the question of whether there would be a result on Thursday night, but said, “We’re coming into the home stretch”.