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Trump campaign changes tack, then switches back in Pennsylvania election lawsuit

(Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s campaign sought on Wednesday to reintroduce claims to a Pennsylvania election lawsuit that it removed three days ago, saying it would ask that Trump be declared the winner of the battleground state.

FILE PHOTO: A voter and election workers wear protective masks on Election Day in South Philadelphia High School, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., November 3, 2020. REUTERS/Rachel Wisniewski/File Photo

In a court filing, the campaign sought permission from U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann to add back legal claims that it dropped on Sunday from its Nov. 9 lawsuit. The claims alleged Republican observers were denied access to the counting of mail-in ballots.

In the court filing, the campaign said the narrowing of the case had been “inadvertent” and due to miscommunication. The campaign said on Monday it had “strategically decided to restructure its lawsuit” when it removed the claims.

The lawsuit also alleges inconsistent treatment by county election officials of mail-in ballots. Some counties notified voters that they could fix minor defects such as missing dates while others did not.

The campaign lawsuit seeks to prevent the state from certifying the election result, citing the disparate policies. Brann expressed skepticism of that request at a hearing on Tuesday.

Trump’s campaign has filed a flurry of lawsuits in a long-shot bid to reverse the election, which Democratic former Vice President Joe Biden won with 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232. The winner needs 270, and Trump would have to flip the outcome in Pennsylvania, with 20 electoral votes, and two other states.

The president has claimed without evidence that the election was stolen.

A Reuters poll on Wednesday showed about half of Republicans believe Trump had the election stolen from him.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court said it would take up an appeal in a separate lawsuit by the Trump campaign challenging thousands of mail-in votes in Philadelphia that were missing information on the return envelopes.

Biden won Pennsylvania by around 82,000 votes, according to Edison Research.

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