(TNS) — A Pennsylvania appellate court ruled in favor of President Donald Trump's campaign Thursday in a case centered ona small pool ofmail ballots from voters who had failed to provide required ID by state imposed deadlines.
In a two-page order, Commonwealth Court President Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt, ordered that ballots from voters who had provided that proof of identification between Nov. 9, a deadline laid out in state law, and Nov. 12, a deadline extension authorized by state elections administrators earlier this month, should not be included in the final tally of votes.
Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, who authorized the deadline extension, had no authority to do so, the judge ruled.
The ruling delivered a minor victory in the Trump campaign's wider legal effort to challenge the integrity of Pennsylvania's election results. But the number of votes impacted by the court's decision is likely to be vanishingly small, compared to the larger pools of votes Republican lawyers are seeking to have thrown out in their other ongoing court fights across the state.
None of the votes affected by Thursday's order have been included in the state's election tallies, as counties had previously been ordered to segregate and not count them pending a decision by the court.
The state's election code requires first time voters to provide proof of identification for their votes to count.
Most of the time, this is done at the polls. But with this year being the first time Pennsylvanians could cast mail ballots without needing justify why they couldn't vote in person, many new voters who submitted their vote by mail had to follow-up separately with county election officials to provide that ID.
Additionally, anyone applying for mail ballots online had to provide a driver's license number as part of their application.
The traditional deadline to provide that proof is Nov. 9, though the voter's ballot must have been submitted by Election Day. This year, citing a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling that established a three-day grace period for late-arriving ballots, Boockvar issued guidance to the state's 67 counties saying the ID deadline should also be extended by three days.
The Trump campaign argued Boockvar, an appointee of Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, had no authority to unilaterally change the deadline. And in her order Thursday, Judge Leavitt, a Republican, agreed.
She noted, however, that had the state Supreme Court included an extension to the ID deadline in the same ruling in which it created the three-day mail ballot grace period, then it would have been lawful.
Lawyers for Boockvar did not immediately respond to requests for comment on whether they intend to appeal.
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