HARRISBURG — The Wolf administration filed an appeal Wednesday to the state Supreme Court, seeking to undo an appeals court judge’s order directing the state to stop election certification a day after the state certified the results of the presidential election.
In her order Wednesday, Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia McCullough acknowledged that the state had already certified the results of the presidential election while adding that the state is barred from taking any additional steps “to perfect” that certification until a hearing is held in a lawsuit filed by U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly and a group of other Republicans.
Kelly, R-16, Butler, represents Mercer County in Congress.
In their lawsuit, the Republicans assert that the 2019 state law, Act 77, allowing for mail-in voting — which passed with far more support among Republican state lawmakers than Democrats — is unconstitutional. The reforms allowing for mail-in voting were used in the June primary, as well.
Attorney General Josh Shapiro said that McCullough’s order doesn’t undo the state’s certification of the presidential results, which had been completed on Tuesday, with state officials announcing that former Vice President Joe Biden received 88,000 more votes in Pennsylvania than President Donald Trump.
“This order does not impact yesterday’s appointment of electors,” Shapiro said in a statement.
Under state law, the winner of the popular vote gets Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral college votes.
Kelly and others filed suit Saturday to challenge approximately 2.5 million mail-in ballots that were predominantly cast by Democrats. They said the GOP-controlled state Legislature had failed to follow proper procedure when they voted last year to expand mail-in voting. The state Supreme Court has twice this month overturned Commonwealth Court decisions involving Republican election challenges.
In a filing asking the Supreme Court to intervene, lawyers for the Wolf Administration argue that if the lawsuit were to be successful it would “disenfranchise millions” and the Republicans haven’t explained in court why they waited a year to challenge the constitutionality of the law.
“Petitioners had not offered any explanation, let alone a satisfactory one, for why they delayed bringing their challenge until more than a year (and two elections) after Act 77’s enactment,” Michele Hangley, one of the attorneys representing the state in the lawsuit, wrote in a filing asking the Supreme Court to intervene to undo McCullough's order.