Former WA Attorney General: If election comes down to one lawsuit, it’ll be Pennsylvania

Nov 5, 2020, 8:48 AM | Updated: 10:23 am


Demonstrators urge that all votes be counted outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

As key battleground states continue to tally votes, President Trump’s campaign has filed a series of lawsuits challenging those efforts. It’s in Pennsylvania, though, where former Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna believes we could see a truly interesting court battle in the days and weeks ahead.

“I don’t think it’s likely this will come down to Pennsylvania, but if it does come down to one legal challenge from one state, it’s probably this one, because of the huge number of votes that Pennsylvania received in the mail after Election Day,” McKenna told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross.

Prior to the election, Pennsylvania’s state Supreme Court issued a ruling allowing ballots to be received up to three days after Election Day. The U.S. Supreme Court was asked by Republicans to issue its own ruling, but opted not to take up the case, while leaving the door open for a post-Election Day ruling.

The state Supreme Court’s ruling to allow ballots to be received in that three-day window was predicated on the idea it had “broad power” to issue a ruling on the election amid a natural disaster like the current pandemic.

If the U.S. Supreme Court does ultimately hear the case, its main priority will be figuring out whether the state court’s ruling violated either federal law or the Constitution. For the former, McKenna believes that’s “unlikely” to hold water. For the latter, though, things are murkier, especially since the state court’s ruling didn’t require ballots received in that three-day window to be postmarked on Election Day.

“(The Supreme Court) can’t change the rules of other states under the federal Constitution — time, place, and manner of elections is controlled by state law,” he noted. “However, there are federal constitutional requirements, and there are federal statutory requirements.”

Despite all that, McKenna points out that a Supreme Court ruling on Pennsylvania’s ballots could end up being a moot point, given that Joe Biden has several paths to 270 electoral votes. With the Associated Press calling Arizona for Biden already, he would only need to win one of Nevada, Georgia, North Carolina, or Pennsylvania in order to take the election.

“If other states decide this election, I think the attention on Pennsylvania will fade,” McKenna predicted.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

MyNorthwest News

An SPD vehicle....

Julia Dallas

Seattle police shoot, kill man suspected of committing crimes against children

A man suspected of committing crimes against children was killed by Seattle police inside a hotel in Tukwila Wednesday afternoon.

20 minutes ago

Image: A man got beaten and robbed in broad daylight in Seattle at Cal Anderson Park on Sunday, Apr...

Bill Kaczaraba

Video of man getting knocked out, robbed in Seattle goes viral; Gee and Ursula respond

A disturbing video has gone viral of a man getting knocked out and robbed by a small group of people on Capitol Hill Sunday.

3 hours ago

The logo for Boeing appears on a screen above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exc...

Heather Bosch

Whistleblower: Boeing involved in ‘criminal cover-up’

A Boeing whistleblower testified before a U.S. Senate subcommittee claiming the company is involved in a "criminal cover-up."

3 hours ago

Photo: Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is sworn-in before the House Committee on Hom...

the MyNorthwest Staff with wire reports

Senate dismisses two articles of impeachment against Homeland Security secretary, ends trial

The Senate dismissed impeachment charges against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, as Republicans pushed to remove him.

4 hours ago


Frank Sumrall

Antisemitic instances up 800% nationally, 300% in Washington

ADL reported there has been more than an 800% increase in antisemitic incidents across the country over the last decade.

6 hours ago

Photo: Four Snoqualmie businesses were destroyed in a fire on Sunday....

Julia Dallas

4 Snoqualmie businesses destroyed in fire, city asks for donations

The SnoValley Chamber is asking for donations after four Snoqualmie businesses were completely destroyed in a fire on Sunday.

6 hours ago

Former WA Attorney General: If election comes down to one lawsuit, it’ll be Pennsylvania