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November 12, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar “lacked statutory authority” to direct state election officials to count mail-in ballots even if they did not receive proof of identification by November 9, President Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt of Pennsylvania ruled Thursday in a victory for the Trump campaign’s legal campaign to prevent the state from being certified for Democrat nominee Joe Biden.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled before the election that election officials in Pennsylvania (as well as North Carolina) could accept absentee ballots for up to three days after the election, though the court also ruled several days later that all ballots that would arrive beyond the legal deadline be segregated and counted separately, in response to a lawsuit by state Republicans to stop a last-minute rule change by Boockvar that allowed the ballots to be counted and co-mingled with ballots that had arrived on time.

But on Thursday, Leavitt ruled that the Secretary of the Commonwealth “lacked statutory authority to issue the November 1, 2020, guidance to Respondents County Boards of Elections insofar as that guidance purported to change the deadline […] for certain electors to verify proof of identification.”

“Accordingly, the Court hereby ORDERS that Respondents County Boards of Elections are enjoined from counting any ballots that have been segregated” pursuant to the court’s previous order on the matter.

WCSI notes that the order represents a victory for the Trump campaign, which needs Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes to stand even a chance of securing a second term. Boockvar said Tuesday that the state received approximately 10,000 ballots after the polls closed, and was still in the process of counting 94,000 provisional ballots that had been given to voters on election day. Biden currently holds a 53,978 lead over Trump in the state.

Most national news networks have called the race for Biden, but no election results have been certified yet. Recounts are pending in Georgia and likely in Wisconsin and potentially additional states, and the Trump campaign is pursuing challenges based on evidence of possible fraud in several states including Michigan, Nevada, and another Pennsylvania dispute over allowing its campaign workers to observe the vote counting.

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