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Taking it to the Courts

By Izzy Vallance

When Georgia and Pennsylvania started to turn blue, Trump and his campaign confidently declared that the election was “not over.” At the same time, the Republican National Committee claimed it had placed “legal challenge teams” in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. The Trump base then named a new leader to head the effort, the conservative political soldier David Bossie.

In the wake of Biden’s win as President-elect, Donald Trump has filed an extensive 85-page lawsuit requesting that a federal judge block Pennsylvania’s secretary of state from verifying the results of the election. This lawsuit is intended to stop President-elect Joe Biden from obtaining Pennsylvania’s twenty electoral votes. This would reduce Biden’s electoral vote count, but it is doubtful that it would give Donald Trump a second term in the Oval office.

This lawsuit contains many claims of abnormalities in the number of votes counted, citing anonymous poll watchers and election observers. It also charges Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar with inappropriate insight to election officials for processing mail-in ballots. Ironically, the filing talks about two instances of claimed voter fraud, both of which are in counties that Donald Trump won in a landslide. Hypothetically, if these votes were considered invalid, they would widen the vote gap between Biden and Trump in Pennsylvania, which will not help Trump on his rampage to overturn the election results.

The issue had already been brought to authorities in Pennsylvania and addressed prior to Election Day. The lawsuits do not bring up any evidence of the type of big voter fraud that Trump has alleged on his path to overthrow a valid election. These claims have been debunked by election experts who have said that voter fraud is highly unlikely. A 2020 review from the right-wing Heritage Foundation found that a very small proportion of votes cast ended in any type of criminal conviction. Columbian Law School professor Richard Briffault, a scholar in election litigation, said that Trump’s lawsuit arguments “make no sense.” Briffault adds, “In effect, they are saying the mailed-in ballots are unconstitutional, which is ludicrous... In any event, any challenges to Pennsylvania’s mailed-ballot procedures that were on the books prior to Election Day (and not imposed by a court) could have and so should have been brought before the election, and so should be thrown out for that reason alone.”

This lawsuit in Pennsylvania is one of more than a dozen the Trump campaign and other Republicans have filed nationwide in order to cast doubt on the 2020 election results. However, not one has shown signs of winning in any of the courts. Going forward with this trend, none of the lawsuits are likely to give Donald Trump any electoral votes that would overturn the 2020 presidential election. As unprecedented as it is for a president to refuse to accept the results of a fair election, Donald Trump’s delegitimization of this democratic process is not at all surprising. He has demonstrated a complete lack of respect for democracy and tradition throughout his time in the Oval Office, and his approach to the end of his term is proving to be no different.

Izzy Vallance is a freshman from Fort Worth, Texas majoring in political science and psychology.


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