Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro responded to President Donald Trump’s threats with an aggressive lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court to prevent the state from counting ballots received by mail in the three days following election day.
“The bottom line is that here in Pennsylvania we will make sure that we respect the will of the people. We will make an accurate count,” Shapiro told Good Morning America on Wednesday. “That is the law. The law says, ‘Count every eligible vote, and that’s what’s happening all over Pennsylvania right now.'”
Attorney General Josh Shapiro on the ballots being counted in Pennsylvania: Weâre going to get an accurate count, itâs the law.â@GStephanopoulos https://t.co/FWZf5KYHIc pic.twitter.com/mFxWyVkZV0
– Good Morning America (@GMA) November 4, 2020
Asked about the president’s threat to go to the Supreme Court to stop the census, Shapiro Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopolous said the Pennsylvania Supreme Court had largely resolved the issue.
“The president is not counting these votes, but the employees in our communities are counting these votes,” he said. “The legal issues have been largely resolved, and now is the time to count those votes and make sure that the will of the people is heard.
He added: “We will not allow anything to get in the way of this process, we just need to be a little more patient.
The importance of Pennsylvania in the elections becomes increasingly clear as the week progresses, especially as Trump is expected to win some of the most important states in the Sunbelt, Texas and Florida. Democratic candidate Joe Biden wants to win Pennsylvania, which voted for Trump in 2016 with just over 44,000 votes, along with the hotly contested states of Michigan and Wisconsin as the key to the presidency.
However, the counting of postal ballots could take days, as the state accepts these ballots until the Friday after election day, provided they are postmarked by November 3. The ballots will be counted even if they do not have a unique postmark, as long as there is no conclusive evidence that the ballot was sent after election day.
Trump has repeatedly commented on the extension of the deadline for the state to accept postal ballots and has threatened to take legal action if the counting of ballots continues. Earlier this week, the president said, “we are going in with our lawyers” after polling stations closed on Tuesday, the Associated Press said.
Republicans have ranting against the decision of Pennsylvania’s highest court, which granted the three-day extension. Last month, U.S. Supreme Court judges rejected a request by Pennsylvania Republicans to decide whether postal ballots could continue to be accepted by polling stations after November 3. The judges were split 4-4, confirming the state court’s decision.
“It would be highly desirable to reach a decision before the election on the constitutionality of the Supreme Court’s decision,” said Judge Samuel Alito, who voted against the decision of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. “This issue is of national importance, and it is very likely that the Supreme Court’s decision will violate the federal constitution.
Last week, Pennsylvania officials instructed local election officials to separate the ballots arriving after 8 p.m. on election day and until 5 p.m. on November 6.
In response to the possibility that the Supreme Court could declare the ballots received during the extension period invalid, Shapiro said he was confident that the states – not the federal government – would be able to determine the process of counting the ballots.
“The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has considered this issue and determined that ballots stamped on election day and received by 5 p.m. on Friday are valid and can be counted,” Shapiro said. “On two separate occasions, the petitioners asked the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene and overturn… or declare it invalid, and on two separate occasions they did not.
He referred to the Purcell principle, which says that the courts should not change the election rules just before an election, as this could confuse voters. Shapiro said that “matters of state electoral law should be left to the states” and that federal courts should not “interfere