Pennsylvania Commonwealth Judge Patricia McCullough made the assessment as part of an opinion explaining her rationale for blocking Pennsylvania’s election certification.
A group of Republican lawmakers and candidates sued the Keystone State earlier this week, arguing that the state legislature’s mail-in voting law—Act 77—violated the commonwealth’s constitution.
“Petitioners appear to have established a likelihood to succeed on the merits because petitioners have asserted the Constitution does not provide a mechanism for the legislature to allow for expansion of absentee voting without a constitutional amendment,” McCullough wrote.
When ruling on an emergency injunction, judges have to consider whether the party which requested the injunction is likely to win the case or “succeed on the merits.” McCullough opined that the “petitioners appear to have a viable claim that the mail-in ballot procedures set forth in Act 77 contravene” the plain language of the provision of the Pennsylvania Constitution which deals with absentee voting.
Pennsylvania said that it had certified the results of the election for president and vice president on Nov. 24 while the court was reviewing briefings from both parties. In response, the plaintiffs filed a request for an emergency injunction, arguing that that state need not have acted so fast.
“It appears that respondents’ actions may have been accelerated in response to the application for emergency relief … in an effort to preclude any remedial action by this court faster than this court was able to evaluate the application for emergency relief and the answers to it,” the plaintiffs wrote.
The emergency request underlined that while Pennsylvania completed vote-counting and submitted the signed certification to the U.S. archivist, a number of steps still remain for the formal certification process to be completed.
“While Respondents may have proactively attempted to avoid potential injunctive relief granted by this Court, Respondents duties with regard to finalization of the full election results are far from complete,” the filing states.
Republican state lawmakers in Pennsylvania released a memo on Nov. 27, advising that they will soon introduce a resolution to dispute the results of the 2020 election.
The resolution states that the executive and judicial branches of the Keystone State’s government usurped the legislature’s constitutional power to set the rules of the election.
The resolution “declares that the selection of presidential electors and other statewide electoral contest results in this commonwealth is in dispute” and “urges the secretary of the commonwealth and the governor to withdraw or vacate the certification of presidential electors and to delay certification of results in other statewide electoral contests voted on at the 2020 general election.”