Speed Reads

Voting Rights

Trump campaign is videotaping voters dropping off ballots in Philadelphia

The Trump campaign acknowledges it's videotaping voters in Philadelphia as they drop off their ballots, telling city officials last week that campaign staffers had captured people depositing two or three ballots in drop boxes and arguing that's a "blatant violations of the Pennsylvania election code," The New York Times reported Thursday. The city replied that "third party delivery is permitted in certain circumstances," and there's no proof any of these people were violating state laws.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) went a step further. "Pennsylvania law permits poll watchers to carry out very discrete and specific duties — videotaping voters at drop boxes is not one of them," Shapiro told the Times. "Depending on the circumstance, the act of photographing or recording a voter casting a ballot could be voter intimidation — which is illegal." He also noted that the Trump campaign had submitted similar photos and videos in a federal lawsuit earlier in 2020, they were found "insufficient in finding proof of voter fraud," and "Trump's case was dismissed on all claims."

The campaign's new complaint "aligns with a broader strategy by the campaign to amplify relatively minor voting issues to bolster baseless claims by the president that the election is rigged by Democrats against him," the Times reports. "The drop box issue could also factor into any challenges brought by the campaign after polls close on Election Day."

Republicans also filed a second lawsuit in federal court that again seeks to nullify any mail-in ballot received after Election Day. The state Supreme Court upheld a three-day window for ballots postmarked by Nov. 3, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene on a 4-4 vote, The Associated Press reports. "With the plaintiffs seeking expedited consideration, the new argument could theoretically arrive at the U.S. Supreme Court after Trump's nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, is sworn in, providing a tie-breaking vote before the election."