A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky Attorney General joins Republican AGs in legal action over Pennsylvania mail-in ballots

By Mark Maynard
Kentucky Today

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron has joined the Republican Attorneys General Association to bring legal action against the process of counting mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania.

He is one of 10 Republican attorneys general who signed onto an amicus brief supporting a Republican lawsuit arguing absentee ballots received after Nov. 3 should not be counted in Pennsylvania and asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take the case.

Daniel Cameron

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court had unanimously upheld the three-day extension set by Democratic state officials concerned about Postal Service delays and the COVID-19 pandemic. The attorneys general say the court usurped a power reserved for state lawmakers.

The U.S. Supreme Court had declined to fast-track the challenge, but the vote was 4-4, and three justices expressed reservations. Republicans now hope to try again with new Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett on the court. The attorneys general believe the extra time meant “unscrupulous actors could attempt to influence a close Presidential election.”

The lawsuit is unlikely to change the outcome of the election, experts say.

“Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our republic,” said Eric Schmitt, the Attorney General of Missouri in a press conference about the brief. “We have to ensure that every legal vote cast is counted and every illegal vote cast is not counted.”

It is unclear how many ballots would be in question, although Pennsylvania’s Attorney General Josh Shapiro said it would be several thousand ballots. President-elect Joe Biden is ahead of President Donald Trump by around 45,000 votes in the uncertified election tally. That would make any ruling a moot because the outcome in Pennsylvania would not be affected.

Also, if Biden is able to hold onto slim leads in Georgia and Arizona, which are also being contested, he would not need the victory in Pennsylvania.

In Kentucky, a bipartisan agreement between Secretary of State Michael Adams and Gov. Andy Beshear said ballots could be counted if they were postmarked by Election Day.

Cameron tweeted Pennsylvania, unlike Kentucky, was able to count ballots where the postmark was not legible. He said any ruling could ultimately have an effect on Kentuckians.

“What happens in other states during a presidential election matters to Kentuckians because we are electing our President and Vice President,” he tweeted. “Legal matters like the one involving Pennsylvania set a precedent that not only affects this election, but future elections as well.”

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