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Trump campaign's lawsuit seeking to block mail-in ballots dismissed
Washington, November 22, 2020
A federal judge in the US state of Pennsylvania has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the re-election campaign of President Donald Trump seeking to block millions of mail-in ballots.
Trump's campaign has so far declined to announce the President's defeat to his rival, former Vice President Democrat Joe Biden in the November 3 presidential election, saying a large number of mail-in ballots were cast illegally.
The lawsuit claimed that some counties in Pennsylvania allowed mail-in voters to fix problems with the ballots by casting provisional votes.
Saturday's ruling by US District Court Judge Matthew Brann was made on the grounds that the lawsuit provided "strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations."
He said the Trump campaign went too far.
"In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state," wrote the judge, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama.
In his scathing and lengthy opinion, Brann said the Trump campaign asked him to "disenfranchise almost 7 million voters", and that he could not find any case in which a plaintiff "has sought such a drastic remedy in the contest of an election".
US media have projected that Biden has won 306 Electoral College votes, surpassing the 270 votes needed to clinch the presidency.
The watershed moment came on November 7, when Pennsylvania was called for Biden, who now leads Trump in the state by over 81,000 votes, a margin believed to be insurmountable even if those erroneously cast ballots were excluded.
While Biden has claimed victory, Trump launched a slew of litigations challenging the results in states that, in addition to Pennsylvania, also include Michigan, Georgia, Nevada and Arizona.
Most of those efforts have either been withdrawn by the campaign itself or rejected by the courts, which cited the lack of proof as the reason.
On Friday, Georgia certified the results of the election following the full hand recount, making it official that Biden won the state's 16 electoral votes.
The recount of roughly five million votes found that the former Vice President received 12,284 more votes than the President in the traditional Republican stronghold.
Most counties saw only minor changes in their tallies, with the recount vote totals differing by single digits.
A federal law sets what is called the "Safe Harbor" deadline, falling on December 8 this year, the day by which states must submit the winner of the presidential election if they are to be insulated from legal disputes.
Electoral College representatives will meet six days later, on December 14, to formally select the next US President.