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Pennsylvania judge tosses out Trump election fraud claims

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Nov 23, 2020 - 03:40 PM

WASHINGTON — A Pennsylvania judge on Saturday threw out Donald Trump’s claims of widespread electoral fraud there, dealing a new blow to the Republican’s bid to overturn his loss in the US presidential election.

The decision — announced in a scathing judgment which excoriated the Trump team’s legal strategy — paves the way for Pennsylvania to certify Democrat Joe Biden’s victory there, which is scheduled to take place Monday.

With the clock ticking down to Biden’s January 20 inauguration, Trump’s team has focused on trying to stop battleground states from certifying election results, in addition to his numerous legal challenges that have so far failed.

Judge Matthew Brann wrote in his ruling that Trump’s team had presented “strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations” in their complaints about mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania.

“In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state,” Brann wrote.

“Our people, laws, and institutions demand more.”

Biden won the state-by-state Electoral College votes that ultimately decide who takes the White House by 306 to 232.

The Electoral College is due to formally vote on December 14, with certifications to take place beforehand.

States’ certification of results of their popular votes is usually routine following a US presidential election.

But Trump’s refusal to concede has complicated the process and drawn concerns that he could cause long-term damage to Americans’ trust in their voting system.

The judgement in Pennsylvania came hours after Republicans also requested a delay in certification in Michigan, another battleground, in a letter that repeated allegations of irregularities in the state which Biden won by 155,000 votes.

They asked for a delay of two weeks to allow for a full audit of results in Wayne County, the state’s largest and where majority-black Detroit is located, won overwhelmingly by Biden.

Michigan’s board of canvassers, which includes two Democrats and two Republicans, is also due to meet Monday to certify the results.

Republican Party national committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and the party’s Michigan chair Laura Cox called on the board to “adjourn for 14 days to allow for a full audit and investigation into those anomalies and irregularities”.

On Friday, Trump invited Michigan lawmakers to the White House as part of his bid to subvert the voters’ will, but the legislators stood firm, saying they would honor the election’s outcome.

Biden has so far limited his criticism of Trump’s actions, though he has spoken of “incredibly damaging messages being sent to the rest of the world about how democracy functions,” adding: “It’s hard to fathom how this man thinks.”

Trump has rarely appeared in public since his electoral loss, but has not given up on his provocative Twitter campaign.

“The proof pouring in is undeniable,” he tweeted Saturday.

“Many more votes than needed. This was a LANDSLIDE!”

Twitter slapped another warning label on his tweet.

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