ballot counting Wednesday

County workers and volunteers count mail-in ballots for the second day inside the Lancaster County Convention Center Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020.

A Lancaster County man who claims his mail-in ballot was rejected in the Nov. 3 election joined President Donald Trump’s lawsuit to prevent Pennsylvania from certifying its election results.

David J. Henry, 74, of West Hempfield Township, is one of two Pennsylvania residents who joined the Trump campaign’s last-ditch effort to prove the state’s election was mismanaged, resulting in thousands of votes they claim were cast illegally.

The Trump campaign said in its complaint that Lancaster County officials did not attempt to correct, or “cure,” Henry’s defective ballot even as other Pennsylvania counties took such corrective action.

“Because of Defendants’ conduct, voters in some counties have been ...  treated differently than voters in other counties — and for no good reason,” the campaign wrote in its complaint against  

Department of State Secretary Kathy Boockvar and election boards in several counties. 

Trump v. Boockvar by Gillian on Scribd

The counties being sued, which does not include Lancaster County, notified political parties of voters who cast defective mail-in ballots and provided the individuals a chance to correct them, cast new ones or vote by provisional ballot on Election Day.

“But voters like Mr. Henry, who received no such opportunity, will not, as their votes were rejected as having been improperly cast and thus void.” the campaign wrote. 

The campaign alleges those different standards represent the “kind of disparate treatment” that violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause.

Appearing in a federal courtroom in Williamsport on Tuesday, Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph Giuliani claimed there was “widespread nationwide voter fraud” in Pennsylvania, especially in “big cities controlled by Democrats,” according to PennLive.

Henry was notified on Nov. 6 that his ballot had been canceled because it was not submitted within the court-required secrecy envelope, according to court documents.

Henry, reached by phone Tuesday, declined to comment and referred all questions to the Trump campaign’s legal team. Attorneys for the campaign could not be reached.

The counties named in the suit followed last-minute guidance provided by the Department of State to alert political party or candidate representatives during pre-canvassing efforts that their mail ballots would be rejected.

Lancaster County did not follow this guidance, and instead decided to follow state law, County Commissioner Josh Parsons said. According to the law, no one can disclose the results of the pre-canvassing efforts prior to the close of the elections. This directly contradicts the state department guidance and created a “two-tiered election system” depending on the county a voter resides, Parsons added.

“Whatever you think about the candidates or the election, you can’t have the Department of State sending out guidance that is contrary to the law,” he said.

The state Supreme Court ruled in September that ballots lacking the envelope were to be disqualified, and offered no explanation of what recourse a voter could have to address their error.

Philadelphia County received only about 4,000 ballots without the secrecy envelope, or 1.1% of mail ballots, Billy Penn reported. It’s unknown if this number includes any ballots that ended up getting counted once fixed.

Henry is joined by Lawrence Roberts, a Fayette County resident who learned on Nov. 9 that his ballot was canceled but was never notified by his county elections board of his vote’s cancelation.

The Trump campaign wants to prevent certification of results that give President-elect Joe Biden the state’s 20 electoral votes. Boockvar, a Democrat, has asked to have the lawsuit thrown out, calling its allegations in court filings “at best, garden-variety irregularities.”

The Associated Press has declared Biden the winner of the presidential contest, but Trump has refused to concede and is blocking Biden’s efforts toward a smoother transition of power. With Georgia the only uncalled state, Biden has collected at least 290 electoral votes — just enough that overturning Pennsylvania’s result would not open an avenue to a second term for Trump.

Biden’s margin in Pennsylvania is now more than 73,000 votes.

There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, and experts say Trump’s various lawsuits have no chance of reversing the outcome in a single state, let alone the election. In fact, election officials from both political parties have stated publicly that the election went well, and international observers confirmed there were no serious irregularities.

(This article contains information from The Associated Press.)