PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A federal appeals court in Philadelphia on Friday rejected an effort led by a Republican congressional candidate to block about 9,300 ballots that arrived after Election Day.
The three-judge panel, led by Chief U.S. Circuit Judge Brooks Smith, noted the “unprecedented challenges” facing the nation this year, especially the “vast disruption” caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Smith said the panel ruled “with commitment to a proposition indisputable in our democratic process: that the lawfully cast vote of every citizen must count.”
The ruling involves the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision to accept mail-in ballots that arrived by Friday, Nov. 6, three days after the close of polling places.
Republicans have the same issue pending on appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Separately, a national law firm that came under criticism for its work for the Trump campaign has asked a judge to let it withdraw from representing the campaign in a lawsuit that seeks to prevent Pennsylvania officials from certifying election results.
Legal giant Porter Wright Morris & Arthur filed the motion Thursday, leaving Philadelphia election lawyer Linda A. Kerns as the remaining attorney for the campaign and two voters in the lawsuit.
Porter Wright’s role in the matter had drawn criticism, and the firm took down its Twitter feed Tuesday after it was inundated with attacks.