Nov. 24 (UPI) — The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has rejected five lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign seeking to disqualify a few thousand ballots, delivering President Donald Trump another defeat in his litigious efforts to challenge the results of the general election.
The court issued an opinion Monday to five consolidated appeals the president had filed seeking to disqualify the Philadelphia County Board of Elections from counting 8,329 absentee and mail-in ballots due to their lack of a handwritten name, address or date of the voter on the outside of the return envelope.
Justice Christine Donohue, joined by Justices Max Baer and Debra Todd, ruled that the election code does not require for such votes to be disqualified where no fraud or irregularity has been alleged.
“Failures to include a handwritten name, address or date in the voter declaration on the back of the outer envelope, while constituting technical violations of the Election Code, do not warrant the wholesale disenfranchisement of thousands of Pennsylvania voters,” Donohue wrote.
The court said that its opinion was guided by the principle that the election code should be “liberally construed” in cases of ambiguous language so as to not deprive the electors of their right to vote.
Justices David Wecht and Kevin Dougherty issued separate opinions agreeing with Donohue but showing concern over the lack of weight her opinion gave to the importance of the information that is to be handwritten on the ballot envelope.
“In my opinion, there is an unquestionable purpose behind requiring electors to date and sign the declaration,” Dougherty wrote, stating the date on the envelope is proof of when the elector executed their ballot in full and prevents potential fraud for back dating late arrived votes.
“I recognize there is presently no dispute that all undated ballots at issue here arrived in a timely manner. But I am also cognizant that our interpretation of this relatively new statue will act as precedential guidance for future cases,” Dougherty said.
Wecht wrote he disagrees with calling the failure to write the information on the envelope as a “minor irregularity,” stating that in future elections, “I would treat the date and sign requirement as mandatory in both particulars, with the omission of either item sufficient without more to invalid the ballot in question.”
The opinion came in support of a lower court’s decision that the president had appealed.
The state’s highest court on Monday also ruled in a separate yet similar appeal by Nicole Ziccarelli, a Republican senatorial candidate, who sought to invalidate 2,349 ballots that were signed but not dated in Allegheny County.
All 10,678 votes will be counted in the state that President-elect Joe Biden is projected to have won by tens of thousands of votes.
Biden was named president-elect in the days following the election, but President Donald Trump has yet to concede defeat and continues to spread widely discredit claims of voter fraud online while stating he has won the election.
“So much egregious conduct,” Trump said in a tweet on Monday flagged by Twitter for being disputed. “We will win!”
Trump, his campaign and the Republican Party have filed a slew of court cases challenging results in key swing states, such as Pennsylvania and Georgia, many of which have been withdrawn or decided against their favor.