Watch CBS News

Threat Of Lawsuits Looms As Pennsylvania's Vote Count Continues

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP/KDKA) — The threat of more election-related lawsuits loomed as vote counting ground on Monday in Pennsylvania, nearly a week after the presidential election, as counties continued to sort through provisional ballots and late-arriving mail-in ballots.

Philadelphia alone was sorting through tens of thousands of ballots, including some that will be disqualified over imperfections or irregularities.

President Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani vowed Sunday that litigation over Pennsylvania's presidential election would continue this week, and Trump has refused to concede. The Associated Press on Saturday called the presidential contest for former Vice President Joe Biden, after it determined that the remaining ballots left to be counted in Pennsylvania would not allow Trump to catch up.

Monday evening, the Trump campaign announced a new lawsuit alleging that mail-in voting resulted in voters being held to different standards based on how they chose to vote, creating a "two-tiered" voting system. A press release claims Pennsylvania's mail-in voting lacked "all the hallmarks of transparency and verifiability."

That suit is filed against Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar and the boards of elections in Allegheny, Centre, Chester, Delaware, Philadelphia, Montgomery and Northampton counties.

Courts have thus far rejected Republican demands in Pennsylvania and other battleground states to throw out ballots or stop vote counting. It was unclear whether any of the legal challenges would make a difference to an eventual outcome.


More than 2.6 million mail-in ballots were reported received by counties, and there has been no report by state or county election officials of fraud or any other problem with the accuracy of the count. Still, Republicans have maintained a belief that voter fraud occurred, saying all "legal" votes must be counted — a clear implication that Democrats want illegal votes counted, a claim for which there is no evidence.

"In Philadelphia and Allegheny counties, there are over 682,000 ballots that were tabulated outside the view of our observers who are entitled by law to review those ballots and we believe that a meaningful review of those ballots could discern that there were ballots that were illegally counted," said Matt Morgan, the Trump campaign's general counsel.

But just Friday, Republican Allegheny County election board member Sam DeMaro told KDKA's Andy Sheehan poll watchers had adequate sight lines and the process has been fair.

"I'm confident they're going to perform their duties well, and I'm satisfied with the process inside," he said.

At the Allegheny County elections warehouse, 26 bipartisanship observers have assembled ready to observe the processing.

Six-thousand of the 6,800 ballots damaged or improperly filled out have been set aside and will not be counted in the totals.

There are still 7,000 of those 29,000 ballots marked with the wrong voting district that still need to be reviewed.

That leaves some 17,000 provisional ballots.

"Nobody here is alleging that a voter voted twice. No one here is alleging that a non-registered voter voted," said Democratic attorney Cliff Levine.

Levine says the Democrats are expecting more challenges, including the allegation that poll watchers in a Philadelphia did not have proper access to the election workers. But Levine said none will pass legal muster.

"That, trust me, is not enough to overturn a presidential election," he said.

Some of the pending litigation filed by Republicans challenges a state court order to count mail-in ballots that arrived in a three-day period after polls closed. Ballots cannot be counted if there is proof they were mailed after polls closed.

A Philadelphia election commissioner, Al Schmidt, said the city received approximately 1,000 mail-in ballots during that period. But, he said, many appeared to have been postmarked after the Nov. 3 election and will be deemed ineligible.

Pennsylvania election officials have not yet provided a statewide tally of the total of late-arriving ballots.

On Monday morning, Biden's lead in the state stood at about 45,700 votes, fueled by big wins in Philadelphia, Allegheny County and Philadelphia's four heavily populated suburban counties. That is larger than the 44,292-vote margin of Trump's victory in Pennsylvania in 2016.

(TM and © Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Stay up to date with the KDKA app, which you can download here.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.