Philadelphia election workers processes mail-in and absentee ballots for the general election at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, on Nov. 3, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) Counting Mail-In Ballots in Philadelphia
Philadelphia election workers processes mail-in and absentee ballots for the general election at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, on Nov. 3, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

It is unclear how the judge can hold up certification.

HARRISBURG — A Pennsylvania appeals court judge ordered state officials on Wednesday to halt any further steps toward certifying election results, a day after Gov. Tom Wolf said he had certified Democrat Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election in Pennsylvania.

Wolf’s administration quickly asked the state Supreme Court to block the ruling from taking effect, saying there was no “conceivable justification” for it.

“Since the birth of our nation nearly 250 years ago, no court has ever issued an order purporting to interfere with a state’s ascertainment of its presidential electors—until today,” the administration said in its motion.

Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia McCullough, a Republican, had issued the order and set a hearing for Friday, but canceled it amid the appeal. It wasn’t immediately clear if she intended to hold up the certification of state and local contests on the ballot or interrupt the scheduled Dec. 14 meeting of the state’s 20 electors.

Republican US Rep. Mike Kelly and others filed suit Saturday to challenge approximately 2.5 million mail-in ballots that were predominantly cast by Democrats. They said the GOP-controlled state Legislature had failed to follow proper procedure when they voted last year to expand mail-in voting.

The state Supreme Court has twice this month overturned Republican challenges over election issues.