HARRISBURG — The campaign of President Donald Trump sued to stop Pennsylvania’s vote count Wednesday saying campaign officials had been barred from monitoring mail-in ballot counting in Philadelphia.
“Bad things are happening in Pennsylvania. Democrats are scheming to disenfranchise and dilute Republican votes. President Trump and his team are fighting to put a stop to it,” the Trump campaign said in a statement announcing the lawsuit.
Gov. Tom Wolf called the lawsuit “disgraceful” and vowed to “fight like hell” to ensure that the vote continues.
"Our election officials at the state and local level should be free to do their jobs without intimidation or attacks," Wolf said. "These attempts to subvert the democratic process are disgraceful.”
The governor said the assertion that the vote-counting hasn’t been transparent doesn’t hold water.
“Philadelphia has been streaming the process” over the Internet, Wolf said. “Anybody can get it, I’m not sure how there’s a lack of transparency,” he said.
Pennsylvania, as predicted by political pundits throughout much of the campaign, has emerged as one of the final battleground states that could tip the balance to determine whether Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden gets the 270 electoral votes needed to clinch the White House.
Biden made dramatic gains to close the gap in the advantage Trump had on election night, when in-person votes had been tallied and mail-in ballots had not.
Democratic voters had sought and used mail-in ballots at three times the rate that Republicans did. By 7:30 p.m. Trump led Biden by 250,000 votes, with about 710,000 mail-in ballots uncounted.
Earlier Wednesday, two of Wolf’s predecessors — Democrat Ed Rendell and Republican Tom Ridge — continued to urge voters to be patient as the state works to ensure all votes are counted.
“Last week, the Steelers were down at halftime and the Eagles were losing at halftime and they both came out victorious,” Ridge said. “The game is not over.”
Rendell said that it’s not uncommon for election results to be delayed.
“Somehow there is a myth that counting votes after Election Day is new,” Rendell said. “Most election counting continues for a day or two after the election,” he said.
The president’s campaign wasn’t alone in criticizing the Wolf administration’s handling of the election.
Republican leaders blasted Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar for making last-minute changes to guidance to counties. Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman said the actions amounted to “weaponizing” the Department of State to “tip the scales” to benefit Democratic candidates.
Corman specifically pointed to the state’s direction that counties could contact voters to allow them to correct mail-in ballots that would otherwise have been rejected.
“Clearly, the secretary was concerned about the results that were coming,” he said. “I think the governor should ask the secretary to step aside so that the people of Pennsylvania can have confidence in the integrity of the result, whether it’s Joe Biden, whether it’s Donald Trump,” Corman said.
Late Tuesday, Boockvar said she had no plan to step down.
Wolf’s office responded with a statement saying he still supports Boockvar and calling the criticism of her “a partisan attack on Pennsylvania’s elections.”