US president-election Joe Biden. Picture: REUTHERS/JONATHAN ERNST
US president-election Joe Biden. Picture: REUTHERS/JONATHAN ERNST

Columbus — Pennsylvania’s top election official has certified Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the key battleground state, dealing another significant blow to US President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results.

Secretary of the commonwealth Kathy Boockvar certified Biden’s 80,555-vote victory in Pennsylvania, which was announced in a tweet by Democratic governor Tom Wolf.

The certification is the official declaration that Biden won Pennsylvania and its 20 electoral college votes. Wolf said he’s signed the certificates of ascertainment for the electors who will cast their votes for Biden when they meet on December 14, unless a court intervenes.

“Today’s certification is a testament to the incredible efforts of our local and state election officials, who worked tirelessly to ensure Pennsylvania had a free, fair and accurate process that reflects the will of the voters,” Wolf said in a statement.

The Pennsylvania certification was the latest in a series of defeats for Trump, who has repeatedly claimed, without evidence, to have won the November 3 election. His campaign has filed lawsuits and demanded recounts and audits across several battleground states, efforts that have got him no closer to a second term.

Among the remaining contested battleground states, Georgia certified its election results last week and Michigan on Monday. Nevada will certify on Tuesday, Arizona on November 30 and Wisconsin by December 1 after a recount in two counties requested by Trump — leaving the president unable to stop Biden from reaching the 270 electoral votes needed for the presidency.

Trump and his allies continue to challenge the outcome of the Pennsylvania vote, despite numerous court defeats and what legal experts have said is the lack of evidence needed to invalidate votes.

On Monday, the Pennsylvania supreme court ruled that mail-in ballots in Philadelphia and Allegheny counties shouldn’t be discarded because of technical errors such as voters failing to print their names if there’s no evidence of fraud.

The Trump campaign’s lawsuit that aimed to block Pennsylvania from certifying its election results was dismissed on Saturday by US district judge Matthew Brann, who called the complaint a “Frankenstein’s monster” that had been “haphashhuaxiu.comrdly stitched together” with strained legal arguments and speculative accusations.

Ignore the popular vote

On Monday, the campaign filed an appeal seeking to revise the case with a new complaint and force Brann to hold a new hearing on it. The campaign also asked the appeals court to issue a temporary restraining order to block the “effects” of certification, arguing it has until December 8 to prevent the state’s electors from being assigned to Biden.

Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani has said the case should be decided by the US supreme court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority. Trump has said his goal is to “decertify” the state’s results one way or another.

Pennsylvania Republicans including US Representative Mike Kelly, a Trump ally, have also sued in state court to block certification on grounds that the legislature’s adoption of expanded absentee voting last year was unconstitutional — even though the legislature was controlled by Republicans and there wasn’t a challenge to the new system until Trump lost.

Trump has advocated on Twitter the idea that Republican-controlled state legislatures could ignore the popular vote for Biden in the November 3 election and appoint competing slates of electors that Congress could consider when it convenes on January 6 to count each state’s electoral votes.

But legal experts say that isn’t likely, especially because it would require multiple states to act and Congress would be compelled to accept the Biden slate of electors as long as they are appointed and all disputes resolved by December 8, the “safe harbour” deadline.

Bloomberg

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