A Republican challenger for Congress in Pennsylvania filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday in an effort to stop Montgomery County election officials from counting certain mail-in ballots received before Election Day.
Kathy Barnette and the Pennsylvania GOP claim officials in the suburban Philadelphia county violated the state’s election code by allegedly pre-canvassing ballots for errors, giving voters who submitted defective ballots a chance to essentially re-vote.
The Keystone State’s election code prevents mail-in ballot envelopes from being opened until 7 a.m. on Tuesday, when polls opened.
Barnette’s lawsuit requests a court order to stop the affected ballots from being counted. It also seeks to block officials from letting voters change defective ballots.
According to the lawsuit, county officials have made it tougher for Barnette’s reps to monitor vote counting, and have been leaving ballots in a public hallway where anyone can access them.
Montgomery County officials, however, stood by their practices.
“We believe our process is sound and permissible under the Election Code,” a spokeswoman for the county said in a statement.
A hearing is expected on Wednesday morning.
Barnette is running against Democratic incumbent Rep. Madeleine Dean, who is heavily favored to win.
Montgomery County has favored every Democratic presidential candidate over their Republican rival this century. It was one of the few counties in Pennsylvania that President Trump lost to Hillary Clinton in 2016.
With Post wires
Republican congressional candidate in Pennsylvania sues over mail-in ballots The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ New York Post.