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RNC Sues Key PA County Outside of Philly Over Absentee Ballot Counting Procedures

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The Republican National Committee filed suit against Bucks County, Pennsylvania, on Friday for failing to provide information regarding how it processed and counted absentee ballots in the 2020 general election.

Bucks County, which is just north of Philadelphia, went for Democrat Joe Biden over then-President Donald Trump by approximately 17,300 votes among the 392,000 cast.

By way of comparison, Democrat Hillary Clinton won the county by only 2,700 votes, with approximately 331,400 cast.

“The RNC is suing the Bucks County Board of Elections because Pennsylvanians deserve transparent elections,” RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tweeted Monday.

“Refusing to share crucial information about how absentee ballots are counted is unacceptable,” she added.

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The RNC lawsuit seeks to compel the Bucks County Board of Elections to turn over information the party had previously sought by formal records requests made in October 2021, according to the petition it submitted to the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County on Friday.

The RNC requests included, “Any and all communications from the Pennsylvania Department of State, Bureau of Elections, regarding the counting, processing, curing, or rejection of mail-in or absentee ballots for the 2020 General Election.”

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The the other eight items quoted directly from the lawsuit are:

  • Any and all communications to the Pennsylvania Department of State, Bureau of Elections, regarding the counting, processing, curing or rejection of mail-in or absentee ballots for the 2020 General Election.
  • Any and all communications from the Pennsylvania Department of State, Bureau of Elections, regarding training for poll workers and judges of elections for the 2020 General Election.
  • Any and all documents reviewed or utilized by the Bucks County Board of Elections regarding the counting, processing, curing or rejection of mail-in or absentee ballots for the 2020 General Election.
  • Any and all documents regarding and/or relating to any training sessions regarding the procedures to be used in counting, processing, curing or rejection of mail-in or absentee ballots for the 2020 General Election.
  • Any and all documents reflecting the procedure used to count, process, cure or reject mail-in or absentee ballots for the 2020 General Election.
  • Any and all documents relied upon and/or referred to during the Canvass, as that term is described in the Pennsylvania Election Code.
  • Any and all communications to or from any employee or staff member of the Bucks County Board of elections, including the administrator of mail-in elections regarding the counting, processing, curing or rejection of mail-in or absentee ballots for the 2020 General Election.
  • Any plan, documents, training materials, or other materials created or used by the Bucks County Board of Elections, its employees, officers or agents for creating the system used to process, count, cure or reject mail-in or absentee ballots for the 2020 General Election.

In early November, Bucks County denied the items sought by the RNC.

The party then appealed to the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records later that month. However, on Jan. 15, 2022, the office also blocked the requests, so the RNC filed its lawsuit.

Breitbart reported the RNC is also seeking similar information regarding mail-in ballot procedures in Berks, Montgomery, Philadelphia and Allegheny counties as well.

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“Party officials say they are prepared to bring similar lawsuits against other counties that resist the production of these records, like Bucks County is doing,” according to the news outlet.

The state of Texas in its lawsuit filed at the U.S. Supreme Court in December 2020 against Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin, accused officials in the Keystone State of breaking multiple laws by allowing absentee ballots to be reviewed and “cured” in key Democratic-controlled counties, like Philadelphia and Allegheny, which includes Pittsburgh.

The same opportunity was not afforded statewide, thus violating the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause, Texas argued. The Supreme Court dismissed the case, ruling Texas lacked standing to sue regarding how Pennsylvania and the other states named conduct their elections.

The Pennsylvania Department of State determined approximately 4,216,000 ballots were cast in person in the 2020 general election, while 2,637,000 absentee ballots were submitted for a total of 6,853,000 votes.

The total tally in 2016 was nearly 1 million less at 5,897,200.

The number of absentee ballots cast that year was about 266,200, according to Philadelphia-based WHYY Public Radio station.

The Democrat-controlled Pennsylvania Supreme Court allowed drop boxes to be deployed in the Keystone State for the 2020 general election and ruled that absentee ballots did not require signature verification and could arrive up to three days after the election.

NPR reported at the time these decisions “were likely to help Democrats.”

Absentee ballots played a decisive role in Democrat Joe Biden defeating then-President Donald Trump in the Keystone State. Trump’s 600,000-vote lead the morning after the election in Pennsylvania dwindled and eventually disappeared in the following days as absentee votes continued to be counted.

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