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Trump’s push to turn US election faces key test in Pennsylvania court

By Jan Wolfe

Nov 17 (.) – US President Donald Trump will take his hesitant efforts to overturn the victory of President-elect Joe Biden to a court in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, where another legal setback would likely doom his long-standing chances.

Williamsport-based District Judge Matthew Brann will hear arguments in a lawsuit the Trump campaign filed on Nov.9 that seeks to prevent the state’s top election official from certifying Democrat Biden as the winner.

The campaign and Trump supporters have filed a series of lawsuits in various states challenging the Nov. 3 election, but have yet to overturn any votes. Pennsylvania has been an integral part of those efforts, and any hope of reversing the election depends on the outcome in the state.

The Trump campaign, after narrowing the scope of the case, centers on an allegation that voters were improperly allowed to fix rejected ballots for technical errors such as the lack of a “secret envelope.”

Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar is scheduled to certify the election results on Nov. 23, which means Brann is expected to fail quickly.

On Monday, three lawyers representing the Trump campaign asked to withdraw from the case, saying the campaign had consented but offering few explanations. Brann allowed two of the three to drop the case.

A new attorney hired on Monday, Marc Scaringi, asked Brann to postpone the hearing in order to prepare, but the judge denied the request.

Biden secured the election with his victory in Pennsylvania, surpassing the 270 electoral votes needed to win. Edison Research said Friday that Biden had won 306 votes in the Electoral College to 232 for Republican Trump.

In the Pennsylvania case, the Trump campaign alleges that Democratic-leaning counties illegally identified mail ballots before Election Day that were flawed so that voters could fix them.

Pennsylvania officials asked a judge to overturn Trump’s lawsuit, saying all counties in the state had permission to inform residents if mailed ballots were deficient, even if they weren’t required to do so.

Pennsylvania officials have also said the dispute affects only a small number of ballots in the state, where Biden is expected to win by more than 60,000 votes.

Legal experts say the lawsuits have little chance of changing the outcome of the elections. A senior Biden legal adviser called the litigation “theater, not really lawsuits.”

(Edited in Spanish by Carlos Serrano)