GETTYSBURG, Pa. (NewsNation Now) — A Pennsylvania appeals court judge has ordered state officials to halt any further steps toward certifying election results, a day after the state’s governor announced he had certified Democrat Joe Biden’s win there.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the order from Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia McCullough, a Republican, could hold up the certification of state and local contests on the ballot or interrupt the scheduled Dec. 14 meeting of the state’s 20 electors.
McCullough scheduled a hearing for Friday.
Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly and others filed suit Saturday to challenge approximately 2.5 million mail-in ballots that were predominantly cast by Democrats. They said the GOP-controlled state Legislature had failed to follow proper procedure when they voted last year to expand mail-in voting.
The state Supreme Court has twice this month overturned Commonwealth Court decisions involving Republican election challenges.
State election officials did not immediately return messages on whether they would appeal.
The judge’s decision comes as President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani joined a meeting led by Republican lawmakers that aimed to discredit election results.
Pennsylvania’s Senate Majority Policy Committee held a “hearing” Wednesday at the Wyndham Hotel in Gettysburg. The state’s Republican Party announced on Twitter that both Trump and Giuliani would participate in the meeting. President Donald Trump phoned in to the meeting to address election “issues and irregularities.”
“This election was rigged and we can’t let that happen we can’t let it happen for our country and this election has to be turned around,” Trump said. “We won PA by a lot and we won all of these swing states by a lot.”
Hear Trump’s full remarks in the embedded player below.
“This election has to be turned around,” said Trump. “I want to thank the Senators for being there it’s so important the day before Thanksgiving.”
The president maintains the election was rigged after millions of mail-in ballots counted after election night changed the trajectory of the outcome.
“Anybody watching television the night of the election—I was being called by the biggest political people, ‘Congratulations sir on a big win,'” said Trump.
Republican Sen. Doug Mastriano requested the meeting Wednesday to call attention to polling issues and mail-in voting irregularities that he claims Pennsylvania residents encountered in the Nov. 3 election. There has been no evidence of widespread fraud in this year’s election.
“This is the most important public hearing ever held by this senate committee,” said Senator David Argall.
“We don’t want to disenfranchise anyone. We want to disqualify 682,000 votes so that 74 million people are not disenfranchised,” said Trump Campaign attorney Rudy Guiliani.
Election officials from both political parties have stated publicly that the election went well and international observers confirmed that there were no serious irregularities.
Gov. Tom Wolf reassured the public that it was a “fair and free election during an incredibly challenging time in our commonwealth and country’s history.”
“Our election workers have been under constant attack and they have performed admirably and honorably,” Wolf said after announcing the certification of votes Tuesday.
Pennsylvania, which carries 20 electoral votes, has been a focal point in the Trump campaign’s efforts to invalidate election results.
On Sunday, Trump appealed a federal judge’s dismissal of his campaign’s effort to block Pennsylvania’s certification of votes.
Under Pennsylvania law, Biden claims all 20 of the state’s Electoral College votes. The results show Biden and Harris with 3.46 million votes, Trump and Vice President Mike Pence with 3.38 million, and Libertarian Jo Jorgensen with 79,000.
The president was expected to attend today’s hearing in person, but canceled after a top adviser to his campaign tested positive for COVID-19; that advisor recently had contact with Rudy Guiliani.
Biden delivered a Thanksgiving address Wednesday afternoon.