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Judge halts Trump campaign lawsuit against Pennsylvania ballot drop boxes

Judge halts Trump campaign lawsuit against Pennsylvania ballot drop boxes
A federal judge has placed a hold on a lawsuit from the re-election campaign of President Donald Trump suing  Pennsylvania over its uses of ballot drop boxes. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 24 (UPI) -- A federal judge has stayed President Donald Trump's re-election campaign lawsuit seeking to prohibit Pennsylvania from using ballot drop boxes in elections ahead of the general election in November.

District Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan in Pittsburgh ruled Sunday against the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee, three U.S. congressmen from Pennsylvania and two Republican voters who filed the lawsuit in late June, arguing that the mail ballot drop boxes were unconstitutional, CNN reported.

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"VICTORY," the American Civil Liberties Union said on Twitter after the verdict was announced. "A federal court just temporarily blocked the Trump administration's efforts to limit ballots in Pennsylvania, saying this is an issue for state courts."

"Drop boxes are crucial for our democracy, especially during a pandemic," the nonpartisan legal and advocacy organization said.

Ranjan, a Trump appointee, ruled that he will "apply the brakes to this lawsuit" and allow Pennsylvania state courts to decide on the state's statutes that are the foundation to the plaintiffs' constitutional arguments.

The ruling came after Ranjan ordered the president's re-election campaign on Aug. 13 to produce evidence of vote-by-mail fraud to support claims in the lawsuit.

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"The Court finds that instances of voter fraud are relevant to claims and defenses in this case," Ranjan wrote.

The lawsuit named Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar and the boards of elections for all 67 of the state's counties as defendants, alleging that the drop boxes used in Pennsylvania's June 2 primary violated constitutional guarantees of equal protection.

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