A US federal judge has rejected an attempt by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign to restrict postal ballot collection in the battlefield state of Pennsylvania. This decision was hailed as a victory by a civil liberties group.
Elements of US District Judge J Nicholas Ranjan’s decision on Saturday could be challenged by the US presidential campaign less than a month before the November 3rd election.
Trump has been spreading misinformation about postal ballot papers for months, saying the system, widespread across the country due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, can be tampered with and will lead to election fraud.
Trump’s campaign wanted the court to clear the county electoral officials to disqualify mail-in ballot papers where the voter’s signature might not match the signature on the file and to remove a legally mandated residency requirement for certified election observers.
It also wanted the court to prevent counties from using dropboxes or mobile websites to collect postal ballot papers that are not “occupied, secured, and consistently used in and across all 67 Pennsylvania counties.”
VICTORY: We just beat the Trump campaign’s illegal attempts to make it harder for Pennsylvanians to vote by mail. Pennsylvania voters CAN use dropboxes to return their postal vote. https://t.co/W2FNiWWPiq
– the ACLU (@ACLU) on October 10, 2020
The American Civil Liberties Union, a prominent advocacy group, welcomed the court’s decision on Saturday. “VICTORY: We just beat the Trump campaign’s illegal attempts to make it harder for Pennsylvanians to vote by mail,” the group tweeted.
“Pennsylvania voters CAN use Dropbox to return their postal vote,” said the ACLU.
Pennsylvania, a state in the northeastern United States, is one of several battlefield states, also known as swing states, where both Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden have a chance of victory.
Biden fought in Pennsylvania on Saturday while Trump announced plans for a campaign event on Tuesday.
In 2016, Trump won the state against Hillary Clinton by a wafer-thin margin of just over 44,000 votes.