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Undermining the Pennsylvania Elections

Pennsylvania has over 9 million registered voters, and 20 electoral votes in the Electoral College. Donald Trump won the state in 2016 by just 0.72 percent. In early 2018, the Pennsylvania Supreme court found out that the existing congressional map had been unconstitutionally gerrymandered by the Republicans. Later that year, a redrawn map along with strong momentum helped Democrats gain three seats in the U.S. House. In 2020, Pennsylvania is considered the tipping point for Trump, making it one of the most coveted states, and probably the reason it has been marred by chaos as political parties contest state election policies and spread disinformation.

Republicans, who had played an important part in 2019 for expanding the state’s absentee ballot system, are now helping Trump suppress the vote and undermine the system. They are trying to limit ballot drop boxes, reject naked ballots, and ban any ballot received after election day from being counted. The Pennsylvania Supreme court rejected their demand to disqualify mail-in ballots that are received after election day. Republicans then appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme court. The Supreme court justices produced a 4-4 tie which allowed the state supreme court decision to stand. Republicans have now filed a new case at the U.S. Supreme court hoping that the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett might work in their favor.

Trump campaign seems to be using voter intimidation techniques. He has been encouraging his supporters to assemble at polling sites, as poll watchers. Recently the Trump campaign sent out poll watchers to early voting sites in Philadelphia. They were turned away by election officials since the state allows partisan poll watchers only on election day. In response to this, the Trump campaign filed a lawsuit challenging the ban on poll watchers at satellite offices. Also, a Trump staffer falsely tweeted about the incident, calling the incident “corruption” against the Trump campaign, which was re-tweeted 45,000 of times.

In addition to the ongoing lawsuits, the Trump campaign seems to be actively promoting and propagating misinformation with what seems to be an intent to erode public trust in the 2020 elections. One might speculate that the lawsuits and disinformation might also be used to undermine or challenge the results of the election in the event Trump loses.

The current administration is so focused on winning the election that they seem to have forgotten that they were elected by the people, for the people. With a pandemic raging, federal and state government’s top priority should be public safety, and making the election process simpler and more accessible to the voters.

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