Potter County was the first to respond to a lawsuit by President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign against the boards of election of all 67 counties in Pennsylvania.
And the response was a motion to dismiss the complaint for failing to state a cause of action involving Potter County.
The lawsuit was filed June 29 in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh by the Trump campaign, four Republican members of Congress, including Rep. Glenn Thompson, and the national Republican party, in an attempt to force changes to how the state collects and counts mail-in ballots under revamped rules.
According to the Associated Press, the suit claimed the defendants, which are the 67 county election boards and Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, “have inexplicably chosen a path that jeopardizes election security and will lead — and has already led — to the disenfranchisement of voters, questions about the accuracy of election results, and ultimately chaos” ahead of the Nov. 3 general election.
A Pennsylvania law passed last year expanded mail-in ballot options to let anyone who wanted to vote by mail do so even if they did not have a reason they could not vote in person.
The lawsuit argued the new procedures were accompanied by some changes that were not legal, including in about 20 counties where the plaintiffs said voters could drop off completed ballots at collection sites without sending them or handing them directly to county elections offices.
The plaintiffs have asked for an order to prevent counting ballots that lack secrecy envelopes or that have certain marks on them. They also wanted poll watchers to be able to monitor vote counting outside the counties where they live — and to be able to observe counting of all mail-in ballots.
The Potter County response, filed July 18 by its solicitor, Thomas R. Shaffer, asks to be dismissed from the lawsuit for a lack of any factual allegations involving the county’s board of elections.
“Do the plaintiffs seek a declaration that Potter County should keep on doing what it is doing, or change what it is doing?” Shaffer asked in a brief in support of his motion to dismiss. “How could the court know what to declare as there are no facts whatsoever alleged as to what Potter County has done?”
As of Wednesday afternoon, no other counties’ boards of election had filed responses.