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Trump Came for us in Court; We Were Ready; We Still Are

A demonstrator rallies outside City Hall on the eve of the 2020 General Election in the United States, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

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A demonstrator rallies outside City Hall on the eve of the 2020 General Election in the United States, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Almost 100 million people across this country have voted. Some have voted by mail. Some have voted early and in person. Some in their cars. Tens of millions more will vote today.

We in Pennsylvania have been preparing for months—not only for the logistical challenge of making sure that every vote is counted, but for a co-ordinated misinformation campaign and legal assault from President Trump.

If we have learned anything in the past four years, it’s that Donald Trump is predictable: He always follows the same script. He’ll make up his alternative facts and fake news. He’ll incite fear and worry at his rallies and on Twitter. He’ll direct his lawyers to defend baseless and indefensible claims in court, and he’ll lose. The cost of his actions are high, even if most fail on the facts. We see that tragically with his misinformation about COVID-19. Why would we expect anything less following this election?

Fortunately, the facts and evidence are on the side of letting people vote, and counting the votes—assets when it comes to a courtroom fight versus a Twitter battle. The president and his lawyers have launched over a half dozen different challenges in Pennsylvania so far over this year to undermine state law and suppress votes. He and his enablers have sued our Commonwealth—and he has lost time and time again. We’re undefeated in court. And this happened because he’s unwilling to face the facts, incapable of telling the truth, and unable to produce evidence to back his claims.

So for the voters out there, especially in Pennsylvania, here are the facts:

  • State law says mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania postmarked by Election Day and received by Friday, November 6, will count. The President’s supporters in Pennsylvania brought this case all the way up to the Supreme Court, twice, where justices declined to hear the case and refused to step in and reverse state law before Election Day.
  • Voter intimidation is illegal. Candidates and political organizations in Pennsylvania are allowed to have poll watchers on Election Day. They are subject to strict rules. They can’t interact with voters. They can’t wear any clothing that suggests that they endorse a candidate. They must be from the county where the poll is located. They have to stand away from you while you are voting.

Donald Trump and his enablers have spent the better part of the last four months trying to systematically disenfranchise voters from the process. He’s been trying to make it harder for people to vote—to eliminate drop boxes, slow down the mail, and direct his supporters to intimidate voters and disrupt the voting process primarily in Black and brown communities. In Texas, they tried to toss out almost 127,000 ballots cast by eligible Americans because they voted from their cars! It’s absurd and the courts know it.

We have beaten Trump and his enablers time and time again. I want you to know that every legal, eligible vote in Pennsylvania will be counted. You will be protected when you vote.

While I am working hard to protect voters in court, the people you will be greeted by at the polls, checking you in are your neighbors. The people counting the votes are members of your community. We are all committed to defending your voice and your right to vote. 

The law is on our side. The facts are on our side. Do not be intimidated, VOTE. 

Voter suppression is not a tool for a winning cause. It’s the last resort of the hopeless. It’s not going to work here in Pennsylvania, the place where our nation was born. That is not who we are. That is not what we stand for.

By all means, if the president wants to bring his loss count to seven, he should feel welcome to sue us again. 

I would suggest that a better option for him would simply be to follow the law.

And my advice for everyone else, and especially those in Pennsylvania: You can go to the polls and you will be free from harm. Your vote will be counted, and the election will not end until every vote is counted. And my office will defend your vote to the very end. 

Josh Shapiro is the attorney general of Pennsylvania.