“The Court must be flexible in favor of the right to vote,” the judge said.
DOYLESTOWN — Another attempt by President Donald Trump’s campaign to change the vote totals in the Pennsylvania election has failed.
The Bucks County Court of Common Pleas threw out his appeal, rejecting an attempt to invalidate 2,117 absentee ballots based on technicalities.
In his decision, Judge Robert Baldi wrote that the overall goal of the state election code, as confirmed by case law, is “to enfranchise voters, not to disenfranchise them.” And that “the Court must be flexible in favor of the right to vote.”
Since the contested absentee ballots only contained minor irregularities, Baldi ruled the errors were not justification enough to throw out ballots cast in good faith.
Baldi specifically pointed out in his decision “that there exists no evidence of any fraud, misconduct, or any impropriety with respect to the challenged ballots.” Both sides, he said, agree to this fact.
During the canvassing of ballots, Bucks County’s Board of Elections flagged 3,095 ballots as having potential issues. A total of 918 were thrown out for missing signatures or privacy envelopes. Legally, these issues are considered more serious.
The remaining 2,117 had less serious violations of the election code, such as missing dates, no handwritten addresses, and envelope irregularities, and were included in the vote tally for the county.
The canvassing of ballots and decision to include the 2,117 with minor errors was done in the presence of representatives of candidates from both parties.
President-elect Joe Biden won Bucks County by 17,345 votes, and all of Pennsylvania by more than 80,000. The amount of ballots in question would not be enough to swing the state or even put it within the 0.5% margin for a recount.
The Bucks County lawsuit is one of many lawsuits the Trump campaign has filed across the state in an effort to invalidate mail-in votes.
Trump’s campaign was successful in a lawsuit in Allegheny County. At issue were 2,239 mail ballots, also with minor irregularities and no evidence or argument of fraud. The commonwealth court heard the case on appeal after a lower court rejected it.
In his decision, Judge P. Kevin Brobson said that county election officials could have given voters an opportunity to fix errors, but should not have counted the ballots as a matter of course. Under the law, he said, ballots may be set aside for fraud or error.
Meanwhile, in Montgomery County, Trump’s campaign withdrew another attempt to throw out 592 ballots based on technicalities.