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Pa. high court takes up Trump challenge to 8K Philly votes

November 18, 2020 GMT

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania’s state Supreme Court said Wednesday that it will take up challenges to more than 8,000 ballots in Philadelphia filed by President Donald Trump’s campaign, among the lawsuits launched by the Republican and his allies amid President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the battleground state.

The high court’s five-member Democratic majority agreed to take up the case, at the city’s request, and the question of whether state law requires counties to disqualify mail-in or absentee ballots where a voter didn’t write certain information.

In this case, it involves 8,329 absentee and mail-in ballots where the voter signed their ballot’s outer envelope, but didn’t handwrite their name, their address or a date on it. The case doesn’t involve an accusation of fraud or an irregularity, the court said.

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The court’s two Republican justices dissented.

The case is expected to help settle a lawsuit in a state Senate race in western Pennsylvania, where the Republican challenger, Nicole Ziccarelli, is neck-and-neck with the Democratic incumbent, Jim Brewster. Votes were still being counted in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties Wednesday.

Ziccarelli is suing to prevent Allegheny County from counting 2,349 mail-in ballots on which the voter did not write the date on the outer envelope.

In Philadelphia, a judge there upheld the city election commission’s decision to count the votes, over the objections of the Trump campaign.

The Trump campaign appealed the case to a mid-level appellate court before the city asked the high court to take up the case, considering next Monday’s deadline to certify the election to the state.

The ballots involved are too few to overturn the election result. Biden won Pennsylvania by more than 80,000 votes. Trump lost the Democratic bastion of Philadelphia by more than 470,000 votes.