's fight to overturn election faces key test in Pennsylvania court

By Jan Wolfe

(Reuters) - President Donald will bring his floundering efforts to overturn President-Elect Joe Biden's victory to a court in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, where another legal setback would likely doom his already long-shot prospects.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann, who sits in Williamsport, will hear arguments in a lawsuit the campaign brought on Nov. 9 that seeks to halt the state's top election official from certifying Biden, a Democrat, as the winner.

The campaign and supporters have filed a flurry of lawsuits in multiple states challenging the Nov. 3 election but have yet to overturn any votes. Pennsylvania has been a fixture of those efforts and any hope of reversing the election hangs on outcome in the state.

The campaign, after narrowing the scope of the case, is focusing on a claim that voters were improperly allowed to fix ballots rejected because of technical errors like a missing "secrecy envelope."

Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar is due to certify the election results on Nov. 23, meaning Brann is expected to rule quickly.

On Monday, three lawyers representing the campaign asked to withdraw from the case, saying the campaign had consented but offering little explanation. Brann allowed two of three to drop out of the case.

A new lawyer hired on Monday, Marc Scaringi, asked Brann to postpone the hearing so he could prepare, but the judge denied the request.

Biden clinched the election with his victory in Pennsylvania, putting him over the 270 electoral votes needed to win. Edison Research said on Friday Biden had won 306 Electoral College votes to Republican ’s 232.

In the Pennsylvania case, the campaign alleges Democratic-leaning counties unlawfully identified mail-in ballots before Election Day that had defects so that voters could fix, or "cure," them.

Pennsylvania officials have asked a judge to toss 's lawsuit, saying all of the state's counties were permitted to inform residents if their mailed-in ballots were deficient, even if it was not mandatory for them to do so.

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Pennsylvania officials have also said the dispute only affects a small number of ballots in the state, where Democrat Joe Biden is projected to win by more than 60,000 votes.

Legal experts say the lawsuits have little chance of changing the outcome of the election. A senior Biden legal adviser has dismissed the litigation as "theatrics, not really lawsuits."

(Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)

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