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Philadelphia court denies Trump campaign’s bid to halt ballot counting

Ballot counting is still underway in the state after the Trump campaign won a ruling in their lawsuit.

mail-in ballots Reuters

Ballot counting continues in Pennsylvania, as a federal court in Philadelphia has denied Trump’s campaign bid to pause the process amidst his lawsuit and alleged access issues. The president previously sued the state and claimed Republican observers weren’t able to get close enough to poll workers to read the writing on mail-in ballot envelopes or ensure the validity of voters’ signatures and addresses.

However, voting advocates in the state say the access restrictions are equally applied to both Republican and Democratic observers.

“There are specific rules in Pennsylvania about where poll watchers can stand and what they can do,” Suzanne Almeida, interim director of Common Cause Pennsylvania, said. “It applies to both parties equally. Everyone has the exact same access. This is not about disadvantaging one party over another.”

After denying Trump’s bid to stop the ballot-counting, U.S. District Judge Paul S. Diamond suggested that each party be allowed 60 observers inside the ballot-counting Pennsylvania Convention Center. The Trump campaign previously won a ruling from an appellate court judge in the state, which allowed their observers to get closer to poll workers while they process mail-in ballots.

“All candidates, watchers, or candidate representatives [are] permitted to be present for the canvassing process” and may “observe all aspects of the canvassing process within 6 feet, while adhering to all COVID-19 protocols, including, wearing masks and maintaining social distancing,” an order from Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Christine Fizzano Cannon read.

Still, members of the Trump campaign continue to claim that their access to Philadelphia’s mail-in ballot processing is being blocked by officials. The campaign filed a new lawsuit on Thursday afternoon against the city’s election officials for allegedly blocking them from observing the ballots.

On Twitter, former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi claimed staff at the convention center had prevented her and other poll watchers from coming within 6 feet from election officials with a fence.

“This is offensive for the great people of Pennsylvania who voted and deserve a fair election,” she wrote.

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