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Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. v. Boockvar

502 F. Supp. 3d 899 (2020)

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Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. v. Boockvar

United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania

502 F. Supp. 3d 899 (2020)

Facts

In October 2019, the General Assembly of Pennsylvania enacted Act 77, allowing registered voters in Pennsylvania to vote by mail. In response to COVID-19, in March 2020, the General Assembly enacted laws in the election code regulating mail-in voting, including that ballots must be placed in secrecy envelopes and received by the elections board by 8:00 p.m. on election day. The election code did not contain any reference to the process of curing ballots or the practice of notice-and-cure, which was the practice of notifying voters who submitted defective mail-in ballots and allowing the voters to cure the deficiencies. Counties were permitted to adopt such practices but not required. John Henry and Lawrence Roberts (plaintiffs) submitted mail-in ballots in the 2020 presidential election. Both men’s ballots were canceled, and neither was given an opportunity to cure his ballot. The results of the 2020 election in Pennsylvania indicating Joseph Biden as the winner were to become official on November 23, 2020, once counties certified their results to Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar (defendant). Henry and Roberts, along with Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. (the Trump Campaign), sought to enjoin the certification of the votes. Henry and Roberts and the Trump Campaign filed suit in district court on November 9, 2020. After changes in counsel, Henry and Roberts and the Trump Campaign filed an amended complaint on November 15, 2020, alleging a violation of the Equal Protection Clause. Henry and Roberts and the Trump Campaign claimed that it was unconstitutional for Pennsylvania to give counties discretion to adopt a notice-and-cure policy because it created an arbitrary system in which some persons were allowed to cure their ballots but others were not. Boockvar filed a motion to dismiss.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Brann, J.)

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