PA Supreme Court dismisses GOP bid to reject mail-in ballots from being counted

Written By Jake Dabkowski, Co-News Editor

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court voted unanimously to dismiss a lawsuit from Republicans that was seeking to stop the state’s 2.5 million mail-in ballots from being counted. Among those involved in the lawsuit were Republican Congressman Mike Kelly and local congressional Republican candidate Sean Parnell.


“[The] Petitioners advocated the extraordinary proposition that the court disenfranchise all 6.9 million Pennsylvanians who voted in the General Election,” the justices wrote in a unanimous filing.


“They have failed to allege that even a single mail-in ballot was fraudulently cast or counted,” Justice David Wench wrote in a concurring opinion.


While the ruling was unanimous, Chief Justice Thomas Saylor wrote a concurring and dissenting opinion to the ruling, citing that while he voted to dismiss the lawsuit he felt that some of the concerns the petitioners raised were warranted.


 “I find that the relevant substantive challenge raised by Appellees presents troublesome questions,” Chief Justice Saylor wrote.


The lawsuit comes alongside several lawsuits to overturn the election’s results that the Trump Campaign have filed in multiple states, including Pennsylvania. While they’ve filed many suits, most experts don’t expect them to change anything.


“The view of most experts of both parties and neutral scholars and practitioners is that these cases have no chance of affecting the election. Up to now, all of them have failed and several have been withdrawn,” Nathan Firestone, a political science professor at Point Park, said.


“The Trump Campaign has no chance of overturning any results in any state. It’s political theatre, I think at the end of the day [Trump]’s just insecure and doesn’t want to appear like he’s a loser,” Max Bametzrieder, a political science major at the Community College of Allegheny County, said.


The Trump Campaign is fundraising heavily off of these lawsuits. On Nov. 8, the day the election results were called, they sent out 15 emails to their mailing list soliciting donations, all of which cited their lawsuits.


But according to the solicitations, 40% of donations are sent directly to the Republican National Convention. The other 60% goes to Trump’s Saving America PAC, which does not directly give money to the official recount fund until the Saving America PAC receives a $5,000 minimum.


“The lawsuits are functioning as a ploy to make money,” Owen Belfior, a political science major at the College of Wooster, said.


“He’s doing this to play to his base, to get them riled up. He loves that,” Bametzrieder said.


Several Biden supporters have expressed fear that Trump won’t leave office once Biden is sworn in, but many experts feel that those fears are unfounded.


“I think we can send the Navy SEALs in to dig him out,” former President Barack Obama said on a recent episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live.


“I think it is most likely that he will leave office without being forced to,” Professor Firestone said. “The states will certify even close elections, and the electors will meet in their respective state capitals on December 14 to elect Biden, since he will have the majority of electoral votes.”


Some have raised concerns that Trump’s lawsuits dissuade public trust in elections.


“Millions of people support Trump, so Trump’s perpetuation of the argument that he is the real winner does cause many people to question the legitimacy of the election process and results,” Professor Firestone said.


“Petitioners… play a dangerous game at the expense of every Pennsylvania voter… courts should not decide elections when the will of the voters is clear,” Justice Wench wrote in his opinion.


“I don’t think it will set any precedents. If anything, it will make elections more secure in the future… I do fear that Republicans will use this as an excuse to pass more laws to suppress votes in the future, especially in states like Pennsylvania,” Bametzrieder said.


Despite fears over future elections, both Professor Firestone and Bametzrieder are optimistic.


“Our system is pretty resilient, so we will probably get through this okay,” Professor Firestone said.


“I can’t imagine another president trying this stunt, it really only made Trump look bad,” Bametzrieder said.