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Members of President Donald Trump’s campaign Thursday allegedly were not being permitted to observe ballot counting in the Philadelphia Convention Center despite a court order issued earlier in the day allowing them to do so.
What are the details?
A Philadelphia court ruled Thursday morning that poll watchers were allowed to be within six feet of ballot counting at the Pennsylvania Convention Center rather than the previous 20-foot perimeter, KYW-TV reported.
Pam Bondi and Corey Lewandowski of the Trump Campaign presented the order, which went into effect at 10:30 a.m., the station said, adding that the pair said it allows them access inside and up to six feet of the vote-counters. KYW reported that they then walked inside the convention center.
However, two videos posted to social media show Trump campaign representatives — including Lewandowski — declaring that they were being blocked from observing the count.
🚨 Here in Philadelphia with Former Democratic Candidate for Judge Michelle Hangley who is paid for by city tax payer money while refusing to allow us to meaningfully observe a court order.
— Corey R. Lewandowski (@CLewandowski_) November 5, 2020
A woman who said she’s an attorney representing Philadelphia stated in the above clip that the city is “evaluating” the judge’s order and determining “what the order means” and “when they’re ready to talk to you about it, they will.” The woman also said the city isn’t violating the court order by its actions.
Ballot counting in Philadelphia was halted for about an hour Thursday morning due to legal challenges, KYW said in a separate story. It isn’t clear if above videos were recorded when counting was paused or not.
City commissioners tweeted later that the count was back on:
The count is going forward. There was a brief pause in light of the ongoing litigation, but it has resumed in accordance with the law. https://t.co/bcEzsX9AM2
— Philadelphia City Commissioners (@PhillyVotes) November 5, 2020
However, TheBlaze looked at the livestream referred to in the above tweet just before 4:30 p.m. Thursday, and it didn’t appear to show poll watchers standing within six feet of ballot counters.
Still, Republican Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt told KYW that representatives from both the Trump campaign and from Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign were watching the vote count.
“They’re observing all of it,” Schmidt noted to the station.
None of the three Philadelphia commissioners on Thursday immediately responded to TheBlaze’s request for comment on the allegations that Trump officials were being prevented from observing the vote count despite the court order allowing them to do so.
The Associated Press reported late Wednesday that Trump’s campaign sued to stop the Pennsylvania vote count over lack of “transparency” and was seeking to intervene in the Supreme Court case. Fox News said the lawsuit was meant to overturn a SCOTUS decision that allows Pennsylvania to continue counting mail-in ballots received after Tuesday until Friday, as long as they were postmarked by Nov. 3.
An NBC News reporter said Thursday she incorrectly tweeted that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overruled the lower court’s decision favoring the Trump campaign and added that the state’s high court hasn’t “weighed in” on the case yet.
Pennsylvania officials on Thursday were still counting mail-in ballots for Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Winning the state’s 20 electoral votes would put Biden above the 270-vote threshold that determines the winner of the election.