Trump campaign drops key request in Pennsylvania lawsuit

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — President Donald Trump’s campaign is withdrawing a central request in its lawsuit seeking to stop the certification of the election results in Pennsylvania, where Democrat Joe Biden beat Trump to capture the state and help win the White House.

Ahead of a Tuesday hearing in the case, Trump’s campaign dropped its request in the lawsuit that hundreds of thousands of mail-in and absentee ballots — 682,479, to be precise — be thrown out because they were processed without its representatives able to watch.

The campaign’s revised lawsuit, filed in federal court on Sunday, maintains the aim of blocking Pennsylvania from certifying a victory for Biden in the state, and it maintains its claim that Democratic voters were treated more favorably than Republican voters.

The campaign still contends in the lawsuit that hundreds of thousands of ballots weren’t properly processed.

“Our lawsuit in Pennsylvania absolutely still makes an issue of the 682,479 mail-in and absentee ballots that were counted in secret,” Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh tweeted.

The campaign said in a statement Monday that it “strategically decided to restructure its lawsuit to rely on claims of violations of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”

The Trump campaign isn’t making that claim on the hundreds of thousands of mail-in and absentee ballots, however. Instead, in the revised suit, it targets the practice of giving voters an opportunity to fix mail-in ballots that were going to be disqualified for a technicality. It contends some Democratic-run counties allowed voters to do that, while Republican counties did not, arguing Democratic voters were treated more favorably than Republican voters.

The Associated Press on Nov. 7 called the presidential contest for Biden after determining that the remaining ballots left to be counted in Pennsylvania would not allow Trump to catch up. Trump has refused to concede.

The lawsuit charges that “Democratic-heavy counties” violated the law by identifying mail-in ballots before Election Day that had defects — such as lacking an inner “secrecy envelope” or lacking a voter’s signature on the outside envelope — so that the voter could fix it and ensure that the vote would count, called “curing.”

Republican-heavy counties “followed the law and did not provide a notice and cure process, disenfranchising many,” the lawsuit said.

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