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Judge orders Pennsylvania halt certification of election results as fight over mail-in ballots continues

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The judge blocked any further certification steps until a hearing is held on Friday

Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images

A Pennsylvania judge has ordered state officials to stop any further action in the certification of election results in the Keystone State until her court is able to hold an evidentiary hearing scheduled on Friday.

Commonwealth Judge Patricia McCullough, issued the injunction order on Wednesday in response to an emergency request made by Republican lawmakers and candidates who claim that a state law allowing no-excuse absentee voting violated the state constitution.

"To the extent that there remains any further action to perfect the certification of the results of the 2020 General Election for the offices of President and Vice President of the United States of America, respondents are preliminarily enjoined from doing so, pending an evidentiary hearing to be held on Friday," McCullough wrote in the injunction order. "Respondents are preliminarily enjoined from certifying the remaining results of the election, pending the evidentiary hearing."

McCullough is the presiding judge over a lawsuit brought by Republican lawmakers and candidates against the state, its general assembly, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, and Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar.

The plaintiffs in the case allege that the statute in question, Act 77, "is the most expansive and fundamental change to the Pennsylvania voting code, implemented illegally, to date." They argue that in order for absentee voting to be expanded, a constitutional amendment is required, not just the passage of legislation.

"As with prior historical attempts to illegally expand mail-in voting by statute, which have been struck down going as far back as the Military Absentee Ballot Act of 1839, 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 allow for the expansion," the lawsuit reads.

The plaintiffs filed the emergency request after they say state officials announced the certification of presidential election results prematurely. The state certified election results on Tuesday. In 2016, Pennsylvania certified the presidential election on Dec. 12, the Epoch Times noted.

Democratic Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro immediately responded to the news, vowing to appeal the order with the state Supreme Court.

News of the order broke as state lawmakers conducted a public hearing on "election issues and irregularities" in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Members of President Trump's legal team were present at the hearing.

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