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Pennsylvania Republicans Voted Against Certifying Vote in County Trump Won by 22,000


US President Donald Trump speaks during an event announcing the Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS) Task Force in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, June 17, 2020. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP)

County officials in Pennsylvania on Monday voted 3-2 on party lines to certify the results of the 2020 election in Luzerne County—a county where President Donald Trump defeated President-elect Joe Biden by more than 20,000 votes. But in a partisan twist that may shed light on the Trump campaign’s larger legal strategy, the two members of the Luzerne County Board of Elections who voted against certification were Republicans, while the three who voted in favor were all Democrats, according to Politico’s Holly Otterbein.

After remotely hearing comments from citizens about the county’s election procedures for more than an hour, Democratic board members Jeanette Tait, Peter Ouellette and Audrey Serniak voted to certify the election results while Republicans Keith Gould and Joyce Dombroski-Gebhardt voted against.

Joined by Luzerne County councilmen Harry Haas and Stephen Urban, Dombroski-Gebhardt had previously said the county should not certify the results until officials are provided with “a full accounting of all votes, including write-in votes, provisional ballots and ‘spoiled’ ballots surrendered by voters who received a mail-in ballot and decided to vote in person instead,” local news outlet The Citizens’ Voice reported Sunday.

Dombroski-Gebhardt said last week that she did not plan to vote in favor of certification, citing to unsubstantiated irregularities at polling sites and questions about procedures used to conduct the election.

Under state law, however, Monday Nov. 23 was the deadline for certification of the election results for every Pennsylvania county.

Chairman of the Luzerne County Republican Party Justin Behrens spoke during the pre-certification meeting, where he, too, made unsubstantiated allegations about voting irregularities and urged board members not to certify the results.

“I have a couple concerns, and one is the biggest ones that if we vote to certify this election today, we’re setting precedents for the future, saying that it doesn’t matter if there are things that go on,” he said, according to FOX56. “I think there’s a lot of things that are pending out there and I think there’s a lot of things that have need to be addressed before we can certify this election in state of Pennsylvania, and also in our county. We need to get those answers first, before we go out and certified, so that I asked the board that if they would consider to not certify this election, so that we don’t disenfranchise the voters of Luzerne County.”

The GOP’s coordinated efforts not to certify the results in a county that Trump won by 22,000 votes was likely part of the Trump campaign’s larger legal strategy to prevent Pennsylvania from certifying election results statewide in hopes that the decision will ultimately be left to the courts instead of the voters.

Biden got 80,000 more votes than Trump did in Pennsylvania.

[image via SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.