U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks at his hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., October 28, 2020.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected arguments by President Donald Trump‘s campaign that Republican election observers were improperly denied access to closely watch ballot counting in Philadelphia.
The loss could harm the Trump campaign’s related legal effort in federal court in Williamsport, where it is trying to block Pennsylvania from certifying its election results in coming weeks.
In that federal case, the campaign is citing how ballot-counting observers were kept some distance away from counts done in Philadelphia and Allegheny counties.
If the Trump campaign fails in that case, it is unlikely to be able to reverse President-elect Joe Biden‘s projected victory not only in Pennsylvania but also nationally.
The campaign has repeatedly struck out in cases in other battleground states where it has challenged the legitimacy of ballot counts that gave Biden an edge.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, personal attorney to U.S. President Donald Trump, gestures after media announced that Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Joe Biden has won the 2020 U.S. presidential election, in, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., November 7, 2020.
Eduardo Munoz | Reuters
The 5-2 ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court came as Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was arguing in the federal case that the president is a victim of nationwide voter fraud that has delivered a win for the Democratic challenger Biden.
The Supreme Court rejected the argument that Philadelphia election officials violated state law by keeping GOP observers some distance away from ballots when they were being tallied in that city.
The court noted that state law mandates that observers be permitted to be “in the room” during ballot counting, but leaves it up to county election officials to determine a minimum distance, if any, from the ballots being counted.
A poll watcher monitors the counting of ballots at the Allegheny County elections warehouse on November 6, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Jeff Swensen | Getty Images
A witness in the case had testified that even at the distance he was kept, he could see the counting process.
A lower state court earlier had ruled in the Trump campaign’s favor and allowed observers from the campaign to be within 6 feet of the ballot-counting tables.
The Supreme Court’s ruling overturned that decision.
Biden was projected as the winner of the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 7, after he was called the victor in Pennsylvania’s contest. The Keystone State has 20 Electoral College votes, which were more than enough to push Biden over the 270 electoral vote minimum needed to win the White House.
Biden is currently projected to win 306 electoral votes.