August 24, 2020–A federal court yesterday delayed a lawsuit brought by President Trump’s campaign against the commonwealth of Pennsylvania and all 67 counties. Judge Nicholas Ranjan of the federal district court in Pittsburgh issued a stay in the case until October 5, pending the outcome of a lawsuit in state court brought by Pennsylvania Democrats asking for clarification on what is permissible under the commonwealth’s election law.
In the federal lawsuit, the Trump campaign challenged several election administration practices by Pennsylvania counties, including the availability of safe, secure drop boxes where voters can submit their mail-in ballots.
The ACLU of Pennsylvania, the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, the Public Interest Law Center, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and the law firm WilmerHale are co-counsel representing several intervenors in the case, including Common Cause Pennsylvania, the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, the NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference, and three individual voters from Allegheny County. The following can be attributed to Witold Walczak, legal director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania:
“The federal court understood that the Trump campaign is really asking for interpretations of state law that are best left to state court. At its heart, the Trump campaign’s lawsuit is an attempt to make it more difficult for people in Pennsylvania to vote safely during the pandemic. We and our clients want to be sure that every eligible voter has the chance to vote safely in this election, whether they vote by mail or in person at the polls.”
The following can be attributed to Suzanne Almeida, interim executive director of Common Cause Pennsylvania:
“Common Cause is in this fight to defend the interests of every voter in Pennsylvania, regardless of who they vote for. Our representative democracy doesn’t work if the right to vote is undermined. And that’s exactly what this lawsuit is trying to do.
“In normal times, voting needs to be safe and accessible. In a pandemic, it is paramount that the people of Pennsylvania can exercise their right to vote while protecting their health. We are grateful that the judge in this case understands the issues and has delayed its further consideration.”
“We’ll continue to fight for voters against efforts like this lawsuit, which seek to undermine this vital part of our democracy.”
The following can be attributed to Mimi McKenzie, legal director for the Public Interest Law Center:
“We look forward to a resolution of these important election issues in state court. Mail-in voting is used by millions of voters nationwide in every election, and as we take on COVID-19, it is more important than ever. We’ll continue to fight for voters against efforts like this lawsuit, which seek to undermine this vital part of our democracy.”
The following can be attributed to Sarah Brannon, managing attorney of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project:
“We are pleased the state court will get a chance to weigh in on this important issue. Mail-in ballots and drop boxes are vital for voters in Pennsylvania to be able to cast their ballots safely in the middle of this deadly pandemic.”
The following can be attributed to Terrie Griffin, co-president of the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania:
“We are pleased the court saw the need to consider our state laws on this issue. Voters must be given safe, reliable options for casting their ballots in this election, and the League will continue to fight to ensure their needs are prioritized when any election changes are considered. Any change that undermines accessibility, reliability, or confidence in our elections is nothing short of voter suppression.”