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Judge halts certifying Pa.'s election results; Gov. Wolf appeals

Rep. Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania has asked the court to invalidate&nbsp;millions of ballots cast by mail. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/1c42eeef8782f18ca27cc6ac0b4b4494/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Rep. Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania has asked the court to invalidate millions of ballots cast by mail. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 25 (UPI) -- A day after Pennsylvania certified its election results showing the commonwealth had been won by President-elect Joe Biden, a local judge on Wednesday ordered further certification actions to be halted causing the administration of Gov. Tom Wolf to ask the state's Supreme Court to intervene in a scathing appeal.

"Since the birth of our nation nearly 250 years ago, no court has ever issued an order purporting to interfere with a state's ascertainment of its presidential electors -- until today," the administration said in its appeal. "There is no conceivable justification for the lower court's issuance of such an order in this case."

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The ask to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court lists the reasons its intervention is appropriate to vacate the lower court's order as the claims of the petitioners Rep. Mike Kelly and other Republicans were meritless, lack standing, were filed too late and the court that issued the order "lacked jurisdiction over Petitioners' claims," among other reasons.

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The court document says the ramifications of the order even if let stand for a short time threatens to disrupt the certification of all states' election results, foreclose the seating of elected representatives and indefinitely postpone the general assembly's next term while undermining the will of voters and casting "a wholly unwarranted cloud over Pennsylvania's election results."

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The appeal to the Supreme Court was filed after Republican Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia A. McCullough ruled to place an injunction pending an evidentiary hearing to be held Friday.

Josh Shapiro, the commonwealth's attorney general, tweeted that the order does not impact Tuesday's appointment of electors through certifying election results, stating they would be appealing to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

McCullough's order came in response to the case filed by Kelly on Saturday asking the court to invalidate all 2.5 million mail-in votes, accusing them of being unconstitutional.

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The plaintiffs argued that a law Wolf signed in October of last year to expand absentee and mail-in voting was unconstitutional as it needed to be a constitutional amendment.

"Act 77 is another illegal attempt to override the limitations on absentee voting prescribed in the Pennsylvania Constitution, without first following the necessary procedure to amend the constitution to all for the expansion," the court document said.

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President Donald Trump, who has filed several cases challenging election results in key battleground states including Pennsylvania, defended Kelly's case on Twitter.

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"This is not at all frivolous," he said in a tweet flagged for containing disputed claims about the election. "It is brought on behalf of one of the most respected members of the United States Congress who is disgusted, like so many others, by an Election that is a fraudulent mess."

Rick Hansen, a law professor at UC Irvine, wrote that McCullough's order won't stand.

"This order comes in a bonkers lawsuit that claims all vote-by-mail in Pennsylvania was illegal, rending the election for every office a nullity," he wrote on Election Law Blog. "This won't stick as the case works its way up the food chain."

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