The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court issued multiple ballot count related orders Thursday, as the Trump campaign argued election officials continued to disregard the Court’s rulings. The two main issues at hand are how poll watchers can oversee the ballot count in Philadelphia and how ballots that came in after the polls closed should be treated. The Trump campaign won on both issues in court but claimed that Philadelphia election officials ignore the poll-watching order and that the local sheriff refuses to enforce it.
On Thursday morning, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court reversed an early court order to allow the ballot count’s closer observation. Multiple videos on social media have shown Trump poll watchers being denied entry into Philadelphia polling places on election day. The Trump campaign claims that Philadelphia officials continued to refuse poll watchers to observe throughout the vote count and that they were too far away from the workers to see irregularities. The Trump campaign filed a lawsuit, and Judge Christine Fizzano Cannon ruled in favor of the campaign.
Effective immediately, the order requires that “all candidates, watchers, or candidate representatives be permitted to be present for the canvassing process… and be permitted to observe all aspects of the canvassing process within 6 feet”. The City of Philadelphia has appealed the state court ruling to the State Supreme Court.
Trump campaign representatives Cory Lewandowski and Pam Bondi held a press conference after the court order came down, and Philadelphia officials addressed the issues. Woman for Trump co-chair Bondi said that while the officials moved the barriers, so they were six feet away, they also moved the voting machines in the front row to the back of the building. She said, “Your legal votes must be tabulated, and they’re not doing that. They’re not letting us see anything.”
Cory Lewandowski said a private attorney named Michelle Hangley told the campaign she would determine if the court order was valid or not. On a video Lewandowski released later, the private attorney representing the city said that the city is evaluating what the order means. At the press conference, Lewandowski said, “They have eight attorneys fighting us to see these ballots inside. “The court order is in effect. They will not give us access, and the sheriff has decided not to come down here to enforce that court order. The sheriff of your count will not come down and enforce a court order. What is going on in this city? What are you hiding?”
After the Trump campaign appealed to a federal judge to get the ruling enforced, US District Judge Paul Diamond asked the two sides to agree and called a recess. Asking both sides if they could “act like adults.” The Trump campaign won another legal battle regarding the segregation of invalidated ballots. Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt ruled that counties must segregate ballots that still needed proof of identification after November 9th. She also ruled that the segregated ballots could not be counted until another court order.