The Trump campaign dropped its core claim that hundreds of thousands of voters in Pennsylvania were illegally counted without the presence of Republican poll observers, The Associated Press reports.
Trump and his attorneys have repeatedly claimed that Republican poll observers were blocked from monitoring the counting of more than 682,000 mail ballots even though Republican officials in the state have said that is not true.
But the campaign’s lawyers filed an amended complaint on Sunday dropping the claim from its litigation.
Al Schmidt, Philadelphia’s top Republican election official, has repeatedly said the claim was false.
“Absolutely not,” he told Fox News. “We’ve seen observers from the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, from the Trump campaign and from the Biden campaign, more than we’ve seen our own families, I assure you, over the last couple of weeks. The only people thrown out of here in this whole process were people who were aware of what the rules are and purposely broke those rules.”
Filing contradicts Trump camp’s denial:
“Our lawsuit in Pennsylvania absolutely still makes an issue of the 682,479 mail-in and absentee ballots that were counted in secret,” Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh insisted.
The campaign said in a separate statement that it “strategically decided to restructure its lawsuit to rely on claims of violations of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”
But the court filing shows that the attorneys crossed out the poll observer claim, undercutting the denial.
Trump now targeting GOP voting rules:
The campaign’s central argument in Pennsylvania is now that voters in Republican districts had tougher rules on fixing ballot issues like missing signatures than Democratic districts.
The lawsuit claims that “Democratic-heavy counties” wrongly allowed voters to fix mistakes on their ballots while “Republican-heavy counties followed the law and did not provide a notice and cure process, disenfranchising many.”
But Democratic lawyer Cliff Levine said there is no state law barring officials from letting voters fix ballots.
“They really should be suing the counties that didn’t allow (voters) to make corrections,” Levine said. “The goal should be making sure every vote counts.”
The number of ballots that could be affected by the lawsuit are far fewer than the 70,000-vote margin separating Trump and Biden in the state.
“The numbers aren’t even close to the margin between the two candidates, not even close,” Levine said.