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Pennsylvania Supreme Court rules Trump campaign observers had no right to stand within a specific distance during Philadelphia ballot processing

November 17, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 13: U.S. President Donald Trump walks up to speak about Operation Warp Speed in the Rose Garden at the White House on November 13, 2020 in Washington, DC. The is the first time President Trump has spoken since election night last week, as COVID-19 infections surge in the United States. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled 5-2 that a Trump campaign ballot processing observer in Philadelphia had no right to stand any particular distance away from election workers, and it's up to counties to decide where poll watchers can stand.

(CNN)The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled 5-2 that a Trump campaign ballot processing observer in Philadelphia had no right to stand any particular distance away from election workers, and it's up to counties to decide where poll watchers can stand.

The state high court's ruling overturns an earlier decision that the Trump campaign had called a major win, even while it affected no actual votes in Pennsylvania.

The campaign's latest loss in court comes amid a break in a hearing where Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, is arguing to a federal judge there could have been widespread fraud in absentee voting in the Keystone State.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court spelled out how the Trump campaign's observer, Jeremy Mercer, was able to do everything he was allowed under the law when he was observing the absentee ballot processing in Philadelphia.

"Specifically, Attorney Mercer witnessed Board employees inspecting the back of ballot envelopes containing the voter's declaration, before sending them on for processing; witnessed ballots being removed from their secrecy envelopes, and naked ballots which had been delivered to the Board without a secrecy envelope being segregated from ballots which arrived within such envelopes; saw that the ballot processing methods utilized by the Board were not destroying the ballot envelopes containing the voter's declaration; and perceived that the ballot secrecy envelopes were being preserved during their processing," the Pennsylvania Supreme Court wrote in its opinion.

All seven justices disagreed with the Trump campaign's suspicions of fraud and legal arguments aiming throw out potentially thousands of votes after the fact.

The chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Republican Thomas Saylor, wrote that the Trump campaign's apparent aim to throw out votes would be disenfranchisement.

He pointed out that issues over how an election is administered could largely be addressed by courts before the election, and even by trial courts early during ballot counting -- not well after, as the Trump campaign has tried to do.

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