Lachlan Markay and Sam Stein, The Daily Beast, November 6, 2020:
Local Republican officials were recruiting volunteers on Thursday to call Pennsylvania voters and urge them to send in their ballots—two full days after Election Day. This plea was emailed out just hours before President Donald Trump went on national television Thursday to declare the inherent illegitimacy of ballots received after Nov. 3.
The request, election lawyers say, appears to flagrantly run afoul of state law. Under Pennsylvania law and a recent state Supreme Court decision, absentee and mail-in ballots are valid as long as they were postmarked by Election Day and received by Nov. 6. Any Trump supporter who sends in their ballots either Thursday or Friday would not have it postmarked within the acceptable deadline—creating the precise situation that the president himself has deemed fraudulent and corrupt.
The email, which was sent by the group Kenosha For Trump and forwarded to The Daily Beast, said it was marshaling the effort on behalf of Trump Victory, the committee established by the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee to run the field program for the president's re-election.
It went out just after 5 p.m. to a group of Trump supporters in Kenosha, Wisconsin. "Trump Victory urgently needs volunteers to make phone calls to Pennsylvania Trump supporters to return their absentee ballots," the email said. "These phone calls will help President Trump win the election!" . . .
[Some legal experts] speculated that the campaign was encouraging these votes in hopes that one would be accepted, at which point they could petition courts to invalidate the entire pool of absentee ballots—including those properly postmarked by Nov. 3 and received by the Friday deadline—by claiming the whole batch was tainted by fraud. Pennsylvania election law currently holds that ballots received after Election Day without a clear postmark would be presumed valid though subject to rebuttal. Currently, the running tally of votes as reported by the Pennsylvania Secretary of State’s Office on Thursday did not include legitimate absentees arriving after Election Day, which have been segregated in anticipation of future litigation. . . .
Ben Geffen, an attorney at the Public Interest Law Center in Philadelphia: "The real story is, it sounds like the Trump campaign is promoting cheating." . . .
Just hours after the email went out, Trump held a press conference in the White House briefing room, where he proclaimed that any ballots received by state election officials after Election Day are ipso facto illegitimate. . . . "No illegal votes being cast after Election Day."
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court handed down a decision in September declaring that ballots postmarked by Election Day and received by this Friday would be considered legitimate. . . .
"Good excuse for committing a crime," joked Cliff Levine, a Democratic election lawyer in Pittsburgh. "'I wanted to make sure others knew how easy it was to rob the bank.'"