A Pennsylvania judge has demanded evidence from the Trump campaign for their claims of potential election fraud in the state. The claims are connected to the Trump team’s broader nationwide campaign against mail-in voting, which they have sought to depict as full of opportunities for fraud, despite the lack of evidence backing them up. In Pennsylvania, the Trump campaign’s original lawsuit sought to “bar counties from accepting absentee ballots unless they are mailed by voters to their county election office, or dropped off in person” and “wants to block the counting of any mail-in ballots that are not correctly placed inside the secrecy envelope sent to all voters,” as PA Post reported in June.
District Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan, who is handling the case, gave the Trump campaign until Friday to produce the evidence for their claims of potential fraud. Ranjan noted that the “Court finds that instances of voter fraud are relevant to the claims and defenses in this case.” Democrats “had asked for information and documents that would show steps the Republicans took to study the possibility of fraud,especially related to the use of dropboxes, ballot collection and mailed-in ballots in the primary elections,” CNN’s Katelyn Polantz notes. The Trump campaign has alleged that supposedly improperly secured ballot dropboxes that were used during the state’s June 8 primary threatened election integrity.
The legal team for the Democrats noted that the Trump campaign “should not be permitted to raise such spectacular fraud related claims, particular in this national climate” — and the judge in the case seems to agree, considering the demand that the Trump campaign produce evidence for their claims.
The Biden campaign has directly criticized the Trump campaign over the Pennsylvania lawsuit. In June, Biden spokesperson Emma Riley said:
‘Voters should have more options for voting, not fewer, and no American or Pennsylvanian should have to choose between their health and exercising their right to vote. That means expanding options for participation both by-mail and in-person. That isn’t a partisan issue, but Pennsylvania Republicans and the RNC are clearly concerned with demonstrating their fealty to Donald Trump and his conspiracy theories than they are with making it easier for Pennsylvanians to vote this fall.’
Ranjan issued his demand for evidence from the Trump campaign on the same day that the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request from Republicans to uphold strict vote-by-mail restrictions in Rhode Island.