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Election petition filed with justices

Trump’s campaign wants Pennsylvania’s results thrown out by Compiled by Democrat-Gazette Staff From Wire Reports | December 21, 2020 at 4:32 a.m.
The Supreme Court is seen at sundown in Washington in this Nov. 6, 2020, file photo.

WASHINGTON -- Undeterred by dismissals and admonitions from judges, President Donald Trump's campaign continued with its efforts to overturn the results of the Nov 3. election Sunday, saying it had filed a new petition with the Supreme Court.

The petition seeks to reverse a trio of Pennsylvania Supreme Court cases having to do with mail-in ballots and asks the court to reject election results and allow the Pennsylvania General Assembly to pick its own slate of electors.

While the prospect of the U.S. Supreme Court throwing out the results of a democratic election based on claims of voter fraud is extremely unlikely, it wouldn't change the outcome. President-elect Joe Biden would still be the winner even without Pennsylvania because of his wide margin of victory in the Electoral College.

"The petition seeks all appropriate remedies, including vacating the appointment of electors committed to Joseph Biden and allowing the Pennsylvania General Assembly to select their replacements," Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said in a statement.

He is asking the court to move swiftly so it can rule before Congress meets on Jan. 6 to tally the vote of the Electoral College, which confirmed Biden's win with 306 electoral votes to Trump's 232. But the justices are not scheduled to meet again, even privately, until Jan 8, two days after Congress counts votes.

[RELATED: Full coverage of elections in Arkansas » arkansasonline.com/elections/]

Pennsylvania last month certified Biden as the winner of the state's 20 Electoral College votes after three weeks of vote counting and a string of failed legal challenges.

Trump's campaign and his allies have now filed roughly 50 lawsuits alleging widespread voting fraud. Almost all have been dismissed or dropped because there is no evidence to support their allegations.

Trump has lost before judges of both political parties, including some he appointed. And some of his strongest rebukes have come from conservative Republicans. The Supreme Court has also refused to take up two cases -- decisions that Trump has scorned.

The new case is at least the fourth involving Pennsylvania that Trump's campaign or Republican allies have taken to the Supreme Court in a bid to overturn Biden's victory in the state or at least reverse court decisions involving mail-in balloting. Many more cases were filed in state and federal courts. Roughly 10,000 mail-in ballots that arrived after polls closed but before a state court-ordered deadline remain in limbo, awaiting the highest court's decision on whether they should be counted.

The Trump campaign's filing Sunday appears to target three decisions of Pennsylvania's Democratic-majority state Supreme Court.

In November, the state's highest court upheld a Philadelphia judge's ruling that state law only required election officials to allow partisan observers to be able to see mail-in ballots being processed, not stand close enough to election workers to see the writing on individual envelopes.

It also ruled that more than 8,300 mail-in ballots in Philadelphia that had been challenged by the Trump campaign because of minor technical errors -- such as a voter's failure to write their name, address or date on the outer ballot envelope -- should be counted. In October, the court ruled unanimously that counties are prohibited from rejecting mail-in ballots simply because a voter's signature does not resemble the signature on the person's voter registration form.

The Pennsylvania Republican Party has a pending petition on the state's mail-in-ballot deadline in which the party specifically says in its appeal that it recognizes the issue will not affect the outcome of the 2020 election.

Meanwhile, Trump said Sunday that he has spoken with Sen.-elect Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., who suggested last week that he supports a potential challenge to the electoral vote count when the House and Senate convene next month to formally affirm Biden's victory.

Trump said in an interview with Giuliani on New York's WABC radio station that he spoke with Tuberville Saturday night.

Tuberville's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Some incoming Republican members of the House, including Reps.-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., and Barry Moore, R-Ala., have suggested they will join Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., in using an 1880s law that allows members of Congress to dispute a state's results and make the House and Senate vote on the challenge to the electoral vote tally.

The effort is certain to fail in the Democratic-led House and will meet resistance in the Senate, where several Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have dismissed the idea.

Information for this article was contributed by Jill Colvin, Marc Levy and Mark Sherman of The Associated Press; and by Felicia Sonmez of The Washington Post.

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