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PENNSYLVANIA DONALD J. TRUMP FOR PRESIDENT

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发表于 11/22/2020 16:56:18 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
Case 4:20-cv-02078-MWB Document 202 Filed 11/21/20 Page 1 of 37
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT  
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA   
DONALD J. TRUMP FOR  PRESIDENT, INC., et al.,  
Plaintiffs,   v.  
KATHY BOOCKVAR, et al.,   Defendants.  
No. 4:20-CV-02078   (Judge Brann)  
MEMORANDUM OPINION  
NOVEMBER 21, 2020  
Pending before this Court are various motions to dismiss Plaintiffs’ First  Amended Complaint. Plaintiffs in this matter are Donald J. Trump for President,  Inc. (the “Trump Campaign”), and two voters, John Henry and Lawrence Roberts  (the “Individual Plaintiffs”).1 Defendants, who filed these motions to dismiss,  include seven Pennsylvania counties (the “Defendant Counties”), as well as  Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar.2  
I. INTRODUCTION  
In this action, the Trump Campaign and the Individual Plaintiffs  (collectively, the “Plaintiffs”) seek to discard millions of votes legally cast by  Pennsylvanians from all corners – from Greene County to Pike County, and  
                                                            
1 Doc. 125.  
2 Id. Since the filing of the initial complaint, there have also been several intervenors and  amicus petitioners.  
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everywhere in between. In other words, Plaintiffs ask this Court to disenfranchise  almost seven million voters. This Court has been unable to find any case in which  a plaintiff has sought such a drastic remedy in the contest of an election, in terms  of the sheer volume of votes asked to be invalidated. One might expect that when  seeking such a startling outcome, a plaintiff would come formidably armed with  compelling legal arguments and factual proof of rampant corruption, such that this  Court would have no option but to regrettably grant the proposed injunctive relief  despite the impact it would have on such a large group of citizens.  
That has not happened. Instead, this Court has been presented with strained  legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, unpled in the operative  complaint and unsupported by evidence. In the United States of America, this  cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its  sixth most populated state. Our people, laws, and institutions demand more. At  bottom, Plaintiffs have failed to meet their burden to state a claim upon which  relief may be granted. Therefore, I grant Defendants’ motions and dismiss  Plaintiffs’ action with prejudice.  
II. BACKGROUND  
A. Legal and Factual Background  
The power to regulate and administer federal elections arises from the  Constitution.3 “Because any state authority to regulate election to those offices  
                                                            
3 Cook v. Gralike, 531 U.S. 510, 522 (2001).  
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could not precede their very creation by the Constitution, such power ‘had to be  delegated to, rather than reserved to by, the States.’”4 Consequently, the Elections  Clause “delegated to the States the power to regulate the ‘Times, Places, and  Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives,’ subject to a grant  of authority to Congress to ‘make or alter such Regulations.’”5 Accordingly,  States’ power to “regulate the incidents of such elections, including balloting” is  limited to “the exclusive delegation of power under the Elections Clause.”6
Pennsylvania regulates the “times, places, and manner” of its elections  through the Pennsylvania Election Code.7 The Commonwealth’s Constitution  mandates that “[e]lections shall be free and equal; and no power, civil or military,  shall at any time interfere to prevent the free exercise of the right of suffrage.”8  Recognizing this as a foundational principle, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has  declared that the purpose of the Election Code is to promote “freedom of choice, a  fair election and an honest election return.”9
In October 2019, the General Assembly of Pennsylvania enacted Act 77,  which, “for the first time in Pennsylvania,” extended the opportunity for all  
                                                            
4 Id. (quoting U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton, 514 U.S. 779, 804 (1995)).  5 Id. (quoting U.S. Const. Art. I, § 4, cl. 1).  
6 Id. at 523.  
7 25 P.S. §§ 2601, et seq.
8 Pa. Democratic Party v. Boockvar, 238 A.3d 345, 356 (Pa. 2020) (quoting Pa. Const., Art. I,  § 5).  
9 Id. (quoting Perles v. Hoffman, 213 A.2d 781, 783 (Pa. 1965)).  
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registered voters to vote by mail.10 Following the beginning of the COVID-19  outbreak in March 2020, the General Assembly enacted laws regulating the mail-in  voting system.11 Section 3150.16 of the Election Code sets forth procedural  requirements that voters must follow in order for their ballot to be counted.12  These procedures require, for example, that voters mark their ballots in pen or  pencil, place them in secrecy envelopes, and that ballots be received by the county  elections board on or before 8:00 P.M. on Election Day.13
Nowhere in the Election Code is any reference to “curing” ballots, or the  related practice of “notice-and-cure.” This practice involves notifying mail-in  voters who submitted procedurally defective mail-in ballots of these deficiencies  and allowing those voters to cure their ballots.14 Notified voters can cure their  ballots and have their vote counted by requesting and submitting a provisional  ballot.15  
Recently, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in Democratic Party of  Pennsylvania v. Boockvar addressed whether counties are required to adopt a  notice-and-cure policy under the Election Code.16 Holding that they are not, the  
                                                            
10 Id. at 352 (citing 25 P.S. §§ 3150.11-3150.17). Prior to the enactment of Act 77, voters were  only permitted to vote by mail if they could “demonstrate their absence from the voting  district on Election Day.” Id. (internal citations omitted).  
11 E.g., 25 P.S. § 3150.16.  
12 Id.
13 Id.
14 Pa. Democratic Party, 238 A.3d at 372.  
15 Doc. 93 at 9.  
16 Pa. Democratic Party, 238 A.3d at 374.  
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court declined to explicitly answer whether such a policy is necessarily  forbidden.17
Following this decision, Secretary Boockvar sent an email on November 2,  2020 encouraging counties to “provide information to party and candidate  representatives during the pre-canvass that identifies the voters whose ballots have  been rejected” so those ballots could be cured.18 From the face of the complaint, it  is unclear which counties were sent this email, which counties received this email,  or which counties ultimately followed Secretary Boockvar’s guidance.  
Some counties chose to implement a notice-and-cure procedure while others  did not.19 Importantly, however, Plaintiffs allege only that Philadelphia County  implemented such a policy.20 In contrast, Plaintiffs also claim that Lancaster and  York Counties (as well as others) did not adopt any cure procedures and thus  rejected all ballots cast with procedural deficiencies instead of issuing these voters  provisional ballots.21  
Both Individual Plaintiffs had their ballots cancelled in the 2020 Presidential  Election.22 John Henry submitted his mail-in ballot to Lancaster County; however,  it was cancelled on November 6, 2020 because he failed to place his ballot in the  
                                                            
17 Id. (holding only that the Election Code “does not provide for the ‘notice and opportunity to  cure’ procedure sought by Petitioner”).  
18 Doc. 125 at ¶ 129.  
19 Id. at ¶¶ 124-27.  
20 Id. at ¶ 127.  
21 Id. at ¶ 130.  
22 Id. at ¶¶ 15-16.  
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required secrecy envelope.23 Similarly, after submitting his ballot to Fayette  County, Lawrence Roberts discovered on November 9, 2020 that his ballot had  been cancelled for an unknown reason.24 Neither was given an opportunity to cure  his ballot.25
B. The 2020 Election Results  
In large part due to the coronavirus pandemic still plaguing our nation, the  rate of mail-in voting in 2020 was expected to increase dramatically. As  anticipated, millions more voted by mail this year than in past elections. For  weeks before Election Day, ballots were cast and collected. Then, on November 3,  2020, millions more across Pennsylvania and the country descended upon their  local voting precincts and cast ballots for their preferred candidates. When the  votes were counted, the Democratic Party’s candidate for President, Joseph R.  Biden Jr., and his running-mate, Kamala D. Harris, were determined to have  received more votes than the incumbent ticket, President Donald J. Trump and  Vice President Michael R. Pence. As of the day of this Memorandum Opinion, the  Biden/Harris ticket had received 3,454,444 votes, and the Trump/Pence ticket had  received 3,373,488 votes, giving the Biden ticket a lead of more than 80,000 votes,  per the Pennsylvania state elections return website.26 These results will become  
                                                            
23 Id. at ¶ 15.  
24 Id. at ¶ 16.  
25 Id. at ¶¶ 15-16.  
26 Pa. Dep’t of State, Unofficial Returns, Statewide, https://www.electionreturns.pa.gov/ (last  visited on November 21, 2020).  
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official when counties certify their results to Secretary Boockvar on November 23,  2020 – the result Plaintiffs seek to enjoin with this lawsuit.  
C. Procedural History  
Although this case was initiated less than two weeks ago, it has already  developed its own tortured procedural history. Plaintiffs have made multiple  attempts at amending the pleadings, and have had attorneys both appear and  withdraw in a matter of seventy-two hours. There have been at least two perceived  discovery disputes, one oral argument, and a rude and ill-conceived voicemail  which distracted the Court’s attention from the significant issues at hand.27 The  Court finds it helpful to place events in context before proceeding further.  
In the evening of November 9, 2020, Plaintiffs filed suit in this Court against  Secretary Boockvar, as well as the County Boards of Elections for the following  counties: Allegheny, Centre, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Northampton, and  Philadelphia.28 The original complaint raised seven counts; two equal-protection  claims, two due-process claims, and three claims under the Electors and Elections  Clauses.29
The following day, I convened a telephonic status conference with the  parties to schedule future proceedings. During that conference, I learned that  several organizations, including the Democratic National Committee, sought to file  
                                                            
27 Doc. 131 (denied).  
28 See Doc. 1.  
29 Id.  
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intervention motions with the Court. Later that day, I set a briefing schedule.30  Additionally, November 17, 2020 was set aside for oral argument on any motions  to dismiss, and the Court further told the parties to reserve November 19, 2020 in  their calendars in the event that the Court determined that an evidentiary hearing  was necessary. Subsequent to the Court’s scheduling order, the proposed intervenors filed their motions, and the parties filed their briefings. Plaintiffs then  filed a motion for a preliminary injunction on November 12, 2020.31  
On November 12, 2020, Plaintiffs also underwent their first change in  counsel. Attorneys Ronald L. Hicks, Jr., and Carolyn B. McGee with Porter  Wright Morris & Arthur LLP filed a motion seeking to withdraw from the case.  The Court granted this motion, and Plaintiffs retained two attorneys from Texas,  John Scott and Douglas Brian Hughes, to serve as co-counsel to their original  attorney, Linda A. Kerns.  
The next day, November 13, 2020, was a relatively quiet day on the docket  for this case, but an important one for the parties. That day, the United States  Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued a decision in Bognet v. Secretary  Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.32 This decision, though not factually connected  
                                                            
30 See Doc. 35.  
31 Doc. 89.  
32 No. 20-3214, 2020 WL 6686120 (3d Cir. Nov. 13, 2020) (pending publication).  
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to this matter, addressed issues of standing and equal protection relevant to the  Plaintiffs’ claims.33  
Thereafter, on Sunday, November 15, 2020 – the day Plaintiffs’ response to  Defendants’ motions to dismiss was due – Plaintiffs filed a First Amended  Complaint (the “FAC”) with the Court. This new complaint excised five of the  seven counts from the original complaint, leaving just two claims: one equal protection claim, and one Electors and Elections Clauses claim.34 In addition, a  review of the redline attached to the FAC shows that Plaintiffs deleted numerous  allegations that were pled in the original complaint.  
Plaintiffs acknowledge that under the Third Circuit’s decision in Bognet, this  Court cannot find that Plaintiffs have standing for their Elections and Electors  Clauses claim in the FAC. Plaintiffs represent that they have included this claim in  the FAC to preserve the argument for appellate review. Because Plaintiffs have  made this concession, and because the Third Circuit’s decision in Bognet is clear,  this Court dismisses Count II for lack of standing without further discussion.  
Defendants filed new motions to dismiss and briefs in support thereof on  November 16, 2020. That evening, less than 24 hours before oral argument was to  begin, Plaintiffs instituted a second series of substitutions in counsel. Ms. Kerns,  
                                                            
33 For example, Bognet held that only the General Assembly had standing to raise claims under  the Elections and Electors Clauses. Id. at *7. This ruling effectively shut the door on  Plaintiffs’ allegations under those clauses of the Constitution.  
34 Doc. 125.  
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along with Mr. Scott and Mr. Hughes, requested this Court’s permission to  withdraw from the litigation. I granted the motions of the Texan attorneys because  they had been involved with the case for approximately seventy-two hours.  Because oral argument was scheduled for the following day, however, and because  Ms. Kerns had been one of the original attorneys in this litigation, I denied her  request. I believed it best to have some semblance of consistency in counsel ahead  of the oral argument. That evening, attorney Marc A. Scaringi entered an  appearance on behalf of Plaintiffs. Furthermore, Mr. Scaringi asked the Court to  postpone the previously-scheduled oral argument and evidentiary hearing. The  Court denied Mr. Scaringi’s motion for a continuance; given the emergency nature  of this proceeding, and the looming deadline for Pennsylvania counties to certify  their election results, postponing those proceedings seemed imprudent.  
On November 17, 2020, the Court prepared to address the parties in oral  argument. That morning, attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani entered his appearance on  behalf of Plaintiffs. With this last-minute appearance, Plaintiffs had made their  final addition to their representation.35 At the conclusion of the argument, I  determined that an evidentiary hearing (previously scheduled to take place on  November 19, 2020) was no longer needed and cancelled that proceeding. Instead,  I imposed a new briefing schedule in light of the FAC’s filing, which arguably  
                                                            
35 Ms. Kerns has since withdrawn from the case.  
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mooted the initial motions to dismiss. The parties submitted briefing on the  issues.36
D. Plaintiffs’ Claims  
Plaintiffs’ only remaining claim alleges a violation of equal protection. This  claim, like Frankenstein’s Monster, has been haphazardly stitched together from  two distinct theories in an attempt to avoid controlling precedent. The general  thrust of this claim is that it is unconstitutional for Pennsylvania to give states  discretion to adopt a notice-and-cure policy. Invoking Bush v. Gore, Plaintiffs  assert that such local control is unconstitutional because it creates an arbitrary  system where some persons are allowed to cure procedurally defective mail-in  ballots while others are not.  
Apparently recognizing that such a broad claim is foreclosed under the Third  Circuit’s decision in Bognet, Plaintiffs try to merge it with a much simpler theory  of harm based on the cancellation of Individual Plaintiffs’ ballots in order to satisfy  standing.37 Because Individual Plaintiffs’ votes were invalidated as procedurally  
                                                            
36 Separately, Plaintiffs filed a motion seeking leave to file a second amended complaint. Doc.  172. Having filed the FAC as of right, Plaintiffs may file a second amended complaint only  with the opposing party's written consent or the court's leave. During the oral argument on  November 17, 2020, Defendants indicated that they would not consent to the filing of a third  pleading and did not concur in the motion for leave to file this second amended complaint.  
37 Plaintiffs initially appeared to base their standing under the Equal Protection Clause on the  theory that the notice-and-cure policy unlawfully allowed certain ballots to be counted, and  that this inclusion of illegal ballots diluted Plaintiffs’ legal votes. Doc. 1. After Bognet expressly rejected this theory of standing, however, Plaintiffs have since reversed course and  now argue that their standing is based on the cancellation of Individual Plaintiffs’ votes and  the Trump Campaign’s “competitive standing.” 2020 WL 6686120, at *9-10; Doc. 124 at 2.  
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defective, Individual Plaintiffs argue, for purposes of standing, that their claim is  based on the denial of their votes. But on the merits, Plaintiffs appear to have  abandoned this theory of harm and instead raise their broader argument that the  lack of a uniform prohibition against notice-and-cure is unconstitutional.38 They  assert this theory on behalf of both Individual Plaintiffs and the Trump Campaign.  
That Plaintiffs are trying to mix-and-match claims to bypass contrary  precedent is not lost on the Court. The Court will thus analyze Plaintiffs’ claims as  if they had been raised properly and asserted as one whole for purposes of standing  and the merits. Accordingly, the Court considers Plaintiffs as alleging two equal protection claims. The first being on behalf of Individual Plaintiffs whose ballots  were cancelled. And the second being on behalf of the Trump Campaign and  raising the broad Bush v. Gore arguments that Plaintiffs allege is the main focus of  this lawsuit.39 The Court analyzes both claims separately for purposes of standing  and the merits analysis.  
III. STANDING  
Plaintiffs lack standing to raise either of their claims. “Article III of the  United States Constitution limits the power of the federal judiciary to ‘cases’ and  
                                                            
To the extent that Plaintiffs may still argue that votes have been unconstitutionally diluted  (see, FAC ¶ 97), those claims are barred by the Third Circuit’s decision in Bognet. 38 Plaintiffs essentially conceded that they were only setting forth the vote-denial theory for  purposes of standing when they stated on the record at oral argument that they believed  Individual Plaintiffs’ votes were lawfully cancelled. Hr’g. Tr. 110:22-111:02.  39 In briefing, Plaintiffs attempt to revive their previously-dismissed poll-watcher claims.  Count I does not seek relief for those allegations, but the Court considers them, infra.  
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‘controversies.’”40 To satisfy the case-or-controversy requirement, a plaintiff must  establish that they have standing.41 Standing is a “threshold” issue.42 It is an  “irreducible constitutional minimum,” without which a federal court lacks  jurisdiction to rule on the merits of an action.43 Consequently, federal courts are  obligated to raise the issue of standing sua sponte.44
The plaintiff bears the burden of establishing standing.45 To demonstrate  standing, he must show: (1) an injury in fact, (2) that is fairly traceable to the  challenged conduct of the defendant, and (3) that is likely to be redressed by a  favorable judicial decision.46 “In assessing whether a plaintiff has carried this  burden, [courts must] separate [the] standing inquiry from any assessment of the  merits of the plaintiff’s claim.”47 “To maintain this fundamental separation  between standing and merits at the dismissal stage, [courts] assume for the  purposes of [the] standing inquiry that a plaintiff has stated valid legal claims.”48  “While [the Court’s] standing inquiry may necessarily reference the ‘nature and  
                                                            
40 Pa. Voters All. v. Centre Cnty., No. 4:20-CV-01761, 2020 WL 6158309, at *3 (M.D. Pa. Oct.  21, 2020) (quoting Cotrell v. Alcon Laboratories, 874 F.3d 154, 161-62 (3d Cir. 2017)).  41 Cotrell, 874 F.3d at 161-62.  
42 Wayne Land & Mineral Grp., LLC v. Del. River Basin Comm’n, 959 F.3d 569, 573-74 (3d  Cir. 2020) (internal citations omitted).  
43 Id. at 574 (quoting Lujan v. Defs. of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560 (1992)).  44 Id. (quoting Seneca Reservation Corp. v. Twp. of Highland, 863 F.3d 245, 252 (3d Cir.  2017).
45 Cottrell, 874 F.3d at 162 (quoting Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S. Ct. 1540, 1547 (2016)).  46 Id. (quoting Spokeo, 136 S. Ct. at 1547).  
47 Id.
48 Id. (citing Info. Handling Servs., Inc. v. Defense Automated Printing Servs., 338 F.3d 1024,  1029 (D.C. Cir. 2003)).  
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source of the claims asserted,’ [the Court’s] focus remains on whether the plaintiff  is the proper party to bring those claims.”49  
As discussed above, Plaintiffs allege two possible theories of standing.  First, Individual Plaintiffs argue that their votes have been unconstitutionally  denied. Under this theory, Individual Plaintiffs must show that Defendant  Counties’ use of the notice-and-cure procedure, as well as Secretary Boockvar’s  authorization of this procedure, denied Individual Plaintiffs the right to vote.50  Second, the Trump Campaign maintains that it has competitive standing.51
Both theories are unavailing. Assuming, as this Court must, that Plaintiffs  state a valid equal-protection claim, the Court finds that Individual Plaintiffs have  adequately established an injury-in-fact. However, they fail to establish that it was  Defendants who caused these injuries and that their purported injury of vote-denial  is adequately redressed by invalidating the votes of others. The Trump  Campaign’s theory also fails because neither competitive nor associational  standing applies, and it does not assert another cognizable theory of standing.  
                                                            
49 Id. (brackets and internal citations omitted).  
50 As discussed above, to the extent that Plaintiffs would have premised standing on the theory  that Pennsylvania’s purportedly unconstitutional failure to uniformly prohibit the notice-and cure procedure constitutes vote-dilution, such an assertion would be foreclosed under Bognet.  2020 WL 6686120, at *9-10. Accordingly, the Court will only consider whether Individual  Plaintiffs have standing under their vote-denial theory.  
51 In the interest of comprehensiveness, the Court also addresses whether the Trump Campaign  has associational standing.  
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A. Voters  
1. Injury in Fact  
Individual Plaintiffs have adequately demonstrated that they suffered an  injury-in-fact. “[A] person’s right to vote is ‘individual and personal in nature.’”52  Accordingly, the denial of a person’s right to vote is typically always sufficiently  concrete and particularized to establish a cognizable injury.53 This is true  regardless of whether such a harm is widely shared.54 So long as an injury is  concrete, courts will find that an injury in fact exists despite the fact that such harm  is felt by many.55  
This is precisely the situation presented here. Individual Plaintiffs have  adequately pled that their votes were denied. As discussed above, the denial of a  vote is a highly personal and concrete injury. That Individual Plaintiffs had their  ballots cancelled and thus invalidated is sufficiently personal to establish an injury  in fact. It is of no matter that many persons across the state might also have had  their votes invalidated due to their county’s failure to implement a curing  
                                                            
52 Gill v. Whitford, 138 S. Ct. 1916, 1929 (2018) (quoting Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533, 561  (1964)).  
53 See Gomillion v. Lightfoot, 364 U.S. 339, 349 (1960) (Whittaker, J.) (noting the distinction  between injuries caused by outright denial of the right to vote versus those caused by  reducing the weight or power of an individual’s vote). The Court notes that much of  standing doctrine as it relates to voting rights arises from gerrymandering or vote-dilution  cases, which often involve relatively abstract harms. See, e.g., Gill, 138 S. Ct.; Gaffney v.  Cummings, 412 U.S. 735 (1973); Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533 (1964)).  
54 See Federal Elections Comm’n v. Akins, 524 U.S. 11, 24 (1998) (citing Public Citizen v. U.S.  Dep’t of Justice, 491 U.S. 440, 449-50 (1989)).
55 See id. (“[W]here a harm is concrete, though widely shared, the [United States Supreme]  Court has found ‘injury in fact.’”) (quoting Public Citizen, 491 U.S. at 449-50).  
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procedure. Accordingly, the Court finds that Individual Plaintiffs have established  injury in fact.  
2. Causation  
However, Individual Plaintiffs fail to establish that Defendant Counties or  Secretary Boockvar actually caused their injuries. First, Defendant Counties, by  Plaintiffs’ own pleadings, had nothing to do with the denial of Individual  Plaintiffs’ ability to vote. Individual Plaintiffs’ ballots were rejected by Lancaster  and Fayette Counties, neither of which is a party to this case. None of Defendant  Counties received, reviewed, or discarded Individual Plaintiffs’ ballots. Even  assuming that Defendant Counties unconstitutionally allowed other voters to cure  their ballots, that alone cannot confer standing on Plaintiffs who seek to challenge  the denial of their votes.  
Second, Individual Plaintiffs have not shown that their purported injuries are  fairly traceable to Secretary Boockvar. Individual Plaintiffs have entirely failed to  establish any causal relationship between Secretary Boockvar and the cancellation  of their votes. The only connection the Individual Plaintiffs even attempt to draw  is that Secretary Boockvar sent an email on November 2, 2020 to some number of  counties, encouraging them to adopt a notice-and-cure policy. However, they fail  to allege which counties received this email or what information was specifically  included therein. Further, that this email encouraged counties to adopt a notice and-cure policy does not suggest in any way that Secretary Boockvar intended or  
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desired Individual Plaintiffs’ votes to be cancelled. To the contrary, this email  suggests that Secretary Boockvar encouraged counties to allow exactly these types  of votes to be counted. Without more, this Court cannot conclude that Individual  Plaintiffs have sufficiently established that their injuries are fairly traceable to  Secretary Boockvar.56  
3. Redressability  
In large part because the Individual Plaintiffs cannot establish that their  injury is “fairly traceable” to the Defendants’ conduct, they also cannot show that  their injury could be redressed by a favorable decision from this Court.57 Beyond  that substantial hurdle, however, a review of the injury alleged and the relief  sought plainly shows that the Individual Plaintiffs’ injury would not be redressable.  The Individual Plaintiffs base their equal-protection claim on the theory that their  
                                                            
56 The Third Circuit has held that a party may have standing “to challenge government action  that permits or authorizes third-party conduct that would otherwise be illegal in the absence  of the Government’s action.” Constitution Party of Pennsylvania v. Aichele, 757 F.3d 347,  366 (3d Cir. 2014) (quoting Bloomberg L.P. v. CFTC, 949 F. Supp. 2d 91, 116 (D.D.C.  2013)). But in that case, standing was permitted to avoid a catch-22 situation where, absent  standing against a third-party government actor, a plaintiff would not be able to bring suit  against any responsible party. Id. at 367. Here, Plaintiffs allege that Secretary Boockvar is  responsible for authorizing the unconstitutional actions of Defendant Counties. However,  unlike the plaintiffs in Aichele, Plaintiffs are able to sue Defendant Counties for their  allegedly unconstitutional actions. Moreover, because this Court has already concluded that  Plaintiffs lack standing to sue Defendant Counties for their use of the notice-and-cure policy,  it would be counterintuitive for Plaintiffs to have standing to challenge Secretary Boockvar’s  authorization of this policy, which is even further removed from any purported harm that  Individual Plaintiffs have suffered.  
57 See, e.g., Newdow v. Roberts, 603 F.3d 1002, 1011 (D.C. Cir. 2010) (noting that when an  injury is caused by a third party not before the Court, courts cannot “redress injury . . . that  results from [such] independent action.”) (ellipses and alterations in original) (quoting Simon  v. E. Ky. Welfare Rights Org., 426 U.S. 26, 41-42 (1976)).  
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right to vote was denied. Their prayer for relief seeks, in pertinent part: (1) an  order, declaration, or injunction from this Court prohibiting the Defendants from  certifying the results of the 2020 General Election in Pennsylvania on a  Commonwealth-wide basis; and (2) another order prohibiting Defendants from  certifying the results which include ballots the Defendants permitted to be cured.  
Neither of these orders would redress the injury the Individual Plaintiffs  allege they have suffered. Prohibiting certification of the election results would  not reinstate the Individual Plaintiffs’ right to vote. It would simply deny more  than 6.8 million people their right to vote. “Standing is measured based on the  theory of harm and the specific relief requested.”58 It is not “dispensed in gross: A  plaintiff's remedy must be tailored to redress the plaintiff's particular injury.”59  Here, the answer to invalidated ballots is not to invalidate millions more.  Accordingly, Plaintiffs have not shown that their injury would be redressed by the  relief sought.  
B. Trump Campaign  
The standing inquiry as to the Trump Campaign is particularly nebulous  because neither in the FAC nor in its briefing does the Trump Campaign clearly  assert what its alleged injury is. Instead, the Court was required to embark on an  
                                                            
58 Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. v. Boockvar, No. 2:20-CV-966, 2020 WL 5997680, at  *37 (W.D. Pa. Oct. 10, 2020) (citing Gill, 138 S. Ct. at 1934).  
59 Gill, 138 S. Ct. at 1934 (citing DaimlerChrysler Corp. v. Cuno, 547 U.S. 332, 353 (2006)).  
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extensive project of examining almost every case cited to by Plaintiffs to piece  together the theory of standing as to this Plaintiff – the Trump Campaign.  The Trump Campaign first posits that “as a political committee for a federal  candidate,” it has “Article III standing to bring this action.”60 On its face, this  claim is incorrect. Simply being a political committee does not obviate the need  for an injury-in-fact, nor does it automatically satisfy the other two elements of  standing.  
For this proposition, the Trump Campaign relies on two federal cases where  courts found associational standing by a political party’s state committee.  Therefore, the Court considers whether the Trump Campaign can raise  associational standing, but finds that those cases are inapposite.61 First, a  candidate’s political committee and a political party’s state committee are not the  same thing. Second, while the doctrine of associational standing is well  established, the Trump Campaign overlooks a particularly relevant, very recent  decision from another federal court – one where the Trump Campaign itself argued  that it had associational standing. In Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. v.  Cegavske,62 the Trump Campaign asserted associational standing, and that court  rejected this theory.  
                                                            
60 Doc. 170 at 11.  
61 Texas Democratic Party v. Benkiser, 459 F.3d 582 (5th Cir. 2006); Orloski v. Davis, 564 F.  Supp. 526 (M.D. Pa. 1983).  
62 No. 2:20-CV-1445, 2020 WL 5626974 (D. Nev. Sept. 18, 2020).  
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Associational standing allows an entity to bring suit on behalf of members  upon a showing that: (1) “its members would otherwise have standing to sue in  their own right;” (2) “the interests it seeks to protect are germane to the  organization's purpose;” and (3) “neither the claim asserted nor the relief requested  requires the participation of individual members in the lawsuit.”63
In Cegavske (another case in which the Trump Campaign alleged violations  of equal protection), the court found that the Trump Campaign failed to satisfy the  second prong of associational standing because it “represents only Donald J.  Trump and his ‘electoral and political goals’ of reelection.”64 That court noted that  while the Trump Campaign might achieve its purposes through its member voters,  the “constitutional interests of those voters are wholly distinct” from that of the  Trump Campaign.65 No different here. Even if the Individual Plaintiffs attempted  to vote for President Trump, their constitutional interests are different, precluding a  finding of associational standing. In any event, because the Individual Plaintiffs  lack standing in this case, the Trump Campaign cannot satisfy the first prong of  associational standing either.  
The Trump Campaign’s second theory is that it has “‘competitive standing’  based upon disparate state action leading to the ‘potential loss of an election.’”66  
                                                            
63 Hunt v. Wash. State Apple Advertising Comm'n, 432 U.S. 333, 343 (1977).  64 Cegavske, 2020 WL 5626974 at *4 (internal citations omitted).  
65 Id.
66 Doc. 170 at 11 (citing Drake v. Obama, 664 F.3d 774, 783 (9th Cir. 2011)).  
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Pointing to a case from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit,  Drake v. Obama,67 the Trump Campaign claims this theory proves injury-in-fact.  First, the Court finds it important to emphasize that the term “competitive  standing” has specific meaning in this context. Second, the Trump Campaign’s  reliance on the theory of competitive standing under Drake v. Obama is, at best,  misguided. Subsequent case law from the Ninth Circuit has explained that  competitive standing “is the notion that ‘a candidate or his political party has  standing to challenge the inclusion of an allegedly ineligible rival on the ballot, on  the theory that doing so hurts the candidate’s or party’s own chances of prevailing  in the election.’”68 In the present matter, there is no allegation that the Democratic  Party’s candidate for President, or any other candidate, was ineligible to appear on  the ballot.  
Examination of the other case law cited to by Plaintiffs contradicts their  theory that competitive standing is applicable here for the same reason. For  example, in Texas Democratic Party v. Benkiser, the United States Court of  Appeals for the Fifth Circuit found competitive standing in a case in which the  Democratic Party petitioned against the decision to deem a candidate ineligible and  
                                                            
67 664 F.3d.  
68 Townley v. Miller, 722 F.3d 1128, 1135 (9th Cir. 2013) (emphasis added) (quoting Drake,  664 F.3d at 782); see also Mecinas v. Hobbs, No. CV-19-05547, 2020 WL 3472552, at *11- 12 (D. Ariz. June 25, 2020) (explaining the current state of the doctrine of competitive  standing and collecting cases).  
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replace him with another.69 Likewise, in Schulz v. Williams, the United States  Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit found competitive standing where the  Conservative party alleged an injury in fact by arguing that a candidate from the  Libertarian Party of New York was improperly placed on the ballot for the  Governor’s race in 1994.70 By way of yet another example, Plaintiffs’ citation to  Fulani v. Hogsett makes the same point; competitive standing applies to challenges  regarding the eligibility of a candidate. There, the Indiana Secretary of State was  required to certify the names of candidates for President by a certain date.71 When  the Secretary failed to certify the Democratic and Republican candidates by that  date, the New Alliance party challenged the inclusion of those candidates on the  ballot, arguing that allowing these ineligible candidates constituted an injury-in fact.72 Three other cases relied on by Plaintiffs illustrate separate grounds for  stating an injury in fact, all still relating to ballot provisions.73
It is telling that the only case from the Third Circuit cited to by Plaintiffs,  Marks v. Stinson, does not contain a discussion of competitive standing or any  other theory of standing applicable in federal court.74 Simply pointing to another  
                                                            
69 459 F.3d at 586.  
70 44 F.3d 48, 53 (2d Cir. 1994).  
71 917 F.2d 1028, 1029-30 (7th Cir. 1990).  
72 Id.
73 See Green Party of Tennessee v. Hargett, 767 F.3d 533, 542-43 (6th Cir. 2014) (finding that  Plaintiffs had standing to challenge Tennessee’s ballot-access laws); see also Pavek v.  Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., 967 F.3d 905, 907 (8th Cir. 2020) (finding that  Plaintiffs had standing to challenge the ballot-ordering provision in Minnesota); Nelson v.  Warner, No. 3:19-0898, 2020 WL 4582414, at *3 (S.D. W. Va. Aug. 10, 2020) (same).  74 19 F.3d 873 (3d Cir. 1994).  
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case where a competitor in an election was found to have standing does not  establish competitive standing in this matter. Without more, this Court declines to  take such an expansive view of the theory of competitive standing, particularly  given the abundance of guidance from other Circuits, based on Plaintiffs’ own  citations, limiting the use of this doctrine.  
The Trump Campaign has not offered another theory of standing, and  therefore, cannot meet its burden of establishing Article III jurisdiction. To be  clear, this Court is not holding that a political campaign can never establish  standing to challenge the outcome of an election; rather, it merely finds that in this  case, the Trump Campaign has not pled a cognizable theory.75
IV. MOTION TO DISMISS 12(b)(6)  
A. Legal Standard  
Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the Court dismisses a  complaint, in whole or in part, if the plaintiff has failed to “state a claim upon  which relief can be granted.” A motion to dismiss “tests the legal sufficiency of a  claim”76 and “streamlines litigation by dispensing with needless discovery and  factfinding.”77 “Rule 12(b)(6) authorizes a court to dismiss a claim on the basis of  
                                                            
75 Even assuming, however, that the Trump Campaign could establish that element of standing,  it would still fail to satisfy the causation and redressability requirements for the same reasons  that the Voter Plaintiffs do. To the extent the Trump Campaign alleges any injury at all, its  injury is attenuated from the actions challenged.  
76 Richardson v. Bledsoe, 829 F.3d 273, 289 n. 13 (3d Cir. 2016) (Smith, C.J.) (citing Szabo v.  Bridgeport Machines, Inc., 249 F.3d 672, 676 (7th Cir. 2001) (Easterbrook, J.)).  77 Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 326-27 (1989).  
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a dispositive issue of law.”78 This is true of any claim, “without regard to whether  it is based on an outlandish legal theory or on a close but ultimately unavailing  one.”79
Following the Roberts Court’s “civil procedure revival,”80 the landmark  decisions of Bell Atlantic Corporation v. Twombly81 and Ashcroft v. Iqbal82 tightened the standard that district courts must apply to 12(b)(6) motions.83 These  cases “retired” the lenient “no-set-of-facts test” set forth in Conley v. Gibson and  replaced it with a more exacting “plausibility” standard.84
Accordingly, after Twombly and Iqbal, “[t]o survive a motion to dismiss, a  complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim  to relief that is plausible on its face.’”85 “A claim has facial plausibility when the  plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable  inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”86 “Although the  plausibility standard does not impose a probability requirement, it does require a  pleading to show more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted  
                                                            
78 Id. at 326 (internal citations omitted).  
79 Id. at 327.  
80 Howard M. Wasserman, The Roberts Court and the Civil Procedure Revival, 31 Rev. Litig.  313, 316, 319-20 (2012).  
81 550 U.S. 544 (2007).  
82 556 U.S. 662 (2009).  
83 Id. at 670.  
84 Id.
85 Id. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).  
86 Id.
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unlawfully.”87 Moreover, “[a]sking for plausible grounds . . . calls for enough facts  to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of  [wrongdoing].”88
The plausibility determination is “a context-specific task that requires the  reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.”89 No  matter the context, however, “[w]here a complaint pleads facts that are ‘merely  consistent with’ a defendant’s liability, it ‘stops short of the line between  possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.’”90
When disposing of a motion to dismiss, the Court “accept as true all  factual allegations in the complaint and draw all inferences from the facts  alleged in the light most favorable to [the plaintiff].”91 However, “the tenet that a  court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in the complaint is  inapplicable to legal conclusions.”92 “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a  cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.”93  As a matter of procedure, the Third Circuit has instructed that:  
Under the pleading regime established by Twombly and Iqbal, a court  reviewing the sufficiency of a complaint must take three steps. First, it  
                                                            
87 Connelly v. Lane Const. Corp., 809 F.3d 780, 786 (3d Cir. 2016) (Jordan, J.) (internal  quotations and citations omitted).  
88 Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556.  
89 Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.  
90 Id. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).  
91 Phillips v. County. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 228 (3d Cir. 2008) (Nygaard, J.).  92 Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678;  
93 Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555); see also Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203,  210 (3d Cir. 2009) (Nygaard, J.) (“After Iqbal, it is clear that conclusory or ‘bare-bones’  allegations will no longer survive a motion to dismiss.”).  
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must tak[e] note of the elements [the] plaintiff must plead to state a  claim. Second, it should identify allegations that, because they are no  more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth.  Finally, [w]hen there are well-pleaded factual allegations, [the] court  should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly  give rise to an entitlement to relief.94
B. Equal Protection  
Even if Plaintiffs had standing, they fail to state an equal-protection claim.  The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment commands that no  state shall “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the  laws.”95 The principle of equal protection is fundamental to our legal system  because, at its core, it protects the People from arbitrary discrimination at the hands  of the State.  
But, contrary to Plaintiffs’ assertions, not all “unequal treatment” requires  Court intervention.96 The Equal Protection Clause “does not forbid  classifications.”97 It simply keeps governmental decisionmakers from treating  similarly situated persons differently.98 The government could not function if  complete equality were required in all situations. Consequently, a classification  resulting in “some inequality” will be upheld unless it is based on an inherently  suspect characteristic or “jeopardizes the exercise of a fundamental right.”99
                                                            
94 Connelly, 809 F.3d at 787 (internal quotations and citations omitted).  
95 U.S. Const. Amend. XIV, cl. 1.  
96 Doc. 170 at 29.  
97 Nordlinger v. Hahn, 505 U.S. 1, 10 (1992) (citing F.S. Royster Guano Co. v. Virginia, 253  U.S. 412, 415 (1920)).  
98 Id. (citing F.S. Royster Guano Co. v. Virginia, 253 U.S. 412, 415 (1920)).  99 Id. (quoting McGowan v. Maryland, 366 U.S. 420, 425-26 (1961)).  
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One such fundamental right, at issue in this case, is the right to vote. Voting  is one of the foundational building blocks of our democratic society, and that the  Constitution firmly protects this right is “indelibly clear.”100 All citizens of the  United States have a constitutionally protected right to vote.101 And all citizens  have a constitutionally protected right to have their votes counted.102  
With these background principles firmly rooted, the Court turns to the merits  of Plaintiffs’ equal-protection claims. The general gist of their claims is that  Secretary Boockvar, by failing to prohibit counties from implementing a notice and-cure policy, and Defendant Counties, by adopting such a policy, have created a  “standardless” system and thus unconstitutionally discriminated against Individual  Plaintiffs. Though Plaintiffs do not articulate why, they also assert that this has  unconstitutionally discriminated against the Trump Campaign.  
As discussed above, the Court will address Individual Plaintiffs’ and the  Trump Campaign’s claims separately. Because Individual Plaintiffs premised  standing on the purported wrongful cancellation of their votes, the Court will only  analyze whether Defendants have impermissibly burdened Individual Plaintiffs’  ability to vote. Further, the Court will consider two issues raised by the Trump  Campaign; the first being whether it has stated a valid claim alleging  discrimination relating to its use of poll-watchers, and the second being whether  
                                                            
100 Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533, 554 (1964).  
101 Id. (citing Ex parte Yarbrough, 110 U.S. 651 (1884)).  
102 Id. (citing United States v. Mosley, 238 U.S. 383 (1915)).  
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the General Assembly’s failure to uniformly prohibit (or permit) the notice-and cure procedure is unconstitutional.  
1. Individual Plaintiffs  
States have “broad authority to regulate the conduct of elections, including  federal ones.”103 “This authority includes ‘broad powers to determine the  conditions under which the right of suffrage may be exercised.’”104 Because states  must have freedom to regulate elections if “some sort of order, rather than chaos, is  to accompany the democratic processes,”105 such regulation is generally insulated  from the stringent requirements of strict scrutiny.106
Instead, state regulation that burdens voting rights is normally subject to the  Anderson-Burdick balancing test, which requires that a court “weigh the asserted  injury to the right to vote against the ‘precise interests put forward by the State as  justifications for the burden imposed by its rule.’”107 Under this test, “any ‘law  respecting the right to vote – whether it governs voter qualifications, candidate  selection, or the voting process,’ is subjected to ‘a deferential “important  
                                                            
103 Griffin v. Roupas, 385 F.3d 1128, 1130 (7th Cir. 2004) (citing U.S. Const. Art. I, § 4, cl. 1).  104 Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., 2020 WL 5997680, at *38 (quoting Shelby County, Ala.  v. Holder, 570 U.S. 529, 543 (2013)).  
105 Id. (quoting Burdick v. Takushi, 504 U.S. 428, 433 (1992)).  
106 Burdick, 504 U.S. at 432-33.  
107 Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, 553 U.S. 181, 190 (2008) (quoting Burdick, 504  U.S. at 434).  
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regulatory interests” standard for nonsevere, nondiscriminatory restrictions,  reserving strict scrutiny for laws that severely restrict the right to vote.’”108 The Anderson-Burdick balancing test operates on a sliding scale.109 Thus,  more restrictive laws are subject to greater scrutiny. Conversely, “minimally  burdensome and nondiscriminatory” regulations are subject to “a level of scrutiny  ‘closer to rational basis.’”110 “And where the state imposes no burden on the ‘right  to vote’ at all, true rational basis review applies.”111
Here, because Defendants’ conduct “imposes no burden” on Individual  Plaintiffs’ right to vote, their equal-protection claim is subject to rational basis  review.112 Defendant Counties, by implementing a notice-and-cure procedure,  have in fact lifted a burden on the right to vote, even if only for those who live in  those counties. Expanding the right to vote for some residents of a state does not  burden the rights of others.113 And Plaintiffs’ claim cannot stand to the extent that  it complains that “the state is not imposing a restriction on someone else’s right to  vote.”114 Accordingly, Defendant Counties’ use of the notice-and-cure procedure  
                                                            
108 Donald J. Trump for President, 2020 WL 5997680, at *39 (quoting Crawford, 533 U.S. at  204 (Scalia, J. concurring)).  
109 See id. at *40; see also Arizona Libertarian Party v. Hobbs, 925 F.3d 1085, 1090 (9th Cir.  2019); Fish v. Schwab, 957 F.3d 1105, 1124 (10th Cir. 2020).  
110 Donald J. Trump for President, 2020 WL 5997680, at *39 (quoting Ohio Council 8 Am.  Fed’n of State v. Husted, 814 F.3d 329, 335 (6th Cir. 2016)).  
111 Id. (citing Biener v. Calio, 361 F.3d 206, 215 (3d Cir. 2004)).  
112 Even after questioning from this Court during oral argument regarding the appropriate  standard of review for their equal-protection claim, Plaintiffs failed to discuss this key aspect  of the claim in briefing. See Doc. 170.  
113 See, e.g., Short v. Brown, 893 F.3d 671, 677 (9th Cir. 2018).  
114 Donald J. Trump for President, 2020 WL 5997680, at *44 (emphasis in original).  
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(as well as Secretary Boockvar’s authorization of this procedure) will be upheld  unless it has no rational basis.115
Individual Plaintiffs’ claims fail because it is perfectly rational for a state to  provide counties discretion to notify voters that they may cure procedurally  defective mail-in ballots. Though states may not discriminatorily sanction  procedures that are likely to burden some persons’ right to vote more than others,  they need not expand the right to vote in perfect uniformity. All Plaintiffs have  alleged is that Secretary Boockvar allowed counties to choose whether or not they  wished to use the notice-and-cure procedure. No county was forced to adopt  notice-and-cure; each county made a choice to do so, or not. Because it is not  irrational or arbitrary for a state to allow counties to expand the right to vote if they  so choose, Individual Plaintiffs fail to state an equal-protection claim.  
Moreover, even if they could state a valid claim, the Court could not grant  Plaintiffs the relief they seek. Crucially, Plaintiffs fail to understand the  relationship between right and remedy. Though every injury must have its proper  redress,116 a court may not prescribe a remedy unhinged from the underlying right  being asserted.117 By seeking injunctive relief preventing certification of the  Pennsylvania election results, Plaintiffs ask this Court to do exactly that. Even  
                                                            
115 Biener, 361 F.3d at 215.  
116 Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137, 147 (1803).  
117 Gill, 138 S. Ct. at 1934 (“A plaintiff’s remedy must be tailored to redress the plaintiff’s  particular injury.”) (citing Cuno, 547 U.S. at 353).  
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assuming that they can establish that their right to vote has been denied, which they  cannot, Plaintiffs seek to remedy the denial of their votes by invalidating the votes  of millions of others. Rather than requesting that their votes be counted, they seek  to discredit scores of other votes, but only for one race.118 This is simply not how  the Constitution works.  
When remedying an equal-protection violation, a court may either “level up”  or “level down.”119 This means that a court may either extend a benefit to one that  has been wrongfully denied it, thus leveling up and bringing that person on par  with others who already enjoy the right,120 or a court may level down by  withdrawing the benefit from those who currently possess it.121 Generally, “the  preferred rule in a typical case is to extend favorable treatment” and to level up.122  In fact, leveling down is impermissible where the withdrawal of a benefit would  necessarily violate the Constitution.123 Such would be the case if a court were to  remedy discrimination by striking down a benefit that is constitutionally  guaranteed.  
                                                            
118 Curiously, Plaintiffs now claim that they seek only to enjoin certification of the presidential  election results. Doc. 183 at 1. They suggest that their requested relief would thus not  interfere with other election results in the state. But even if it were logically possible to hold  Pennsylvania’s electoral system both constitutional and unconstitutional at the same time, the  Court would not do so.  
119 Heckler v. Matthews, 465 U.S. 728, 740 (1984) (internal citations omitted).  120 Id. at 741; Califano v. Westcott, 443 U.S. 76, 90-91 (1979).  
121 E.g., Sessions v. Morales-Santana, 137 S. Ct. 1678, 1701 (2017).  
122 Id. (internal citations omitted).  
123 See Palmer v. Thompson, 403 U.S. 217, 226-27 (1971) (addressing whether a city’s decision  to close pools to remedy racial discrimination violated the Thirteenth Amendment); see also Reynolds, 377 U.S. at 554 (citing Mosley, 238 U.S. at 383).  
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Here, leveling up to address the alleged cancellation of Plaintiffs’ votes  would be easy; the simple answer is that their votes would be counted. But  Plaintiffs do not ask to level up. Rather, they seek to level down, and in doing so,  they ask the Court to violate the rights of over 6.8 million Americans. It is not in  the power of this Court to violate the Constitution.124 “The disenfranchisement of  even one person validly exercising his right to vote is an extremely serious  matter.”125 “To the extent that a citizen’s right to vote is debased, he is that much  less a citizen.”126
Granting Plaintiffs’ requested relief would necessarily require invalidating  the ballots of every person who voted in Pennsylvania. Because this Court has no  authority to take away the right to vote of even a single person, let alone millions  of citizens, it cannot grant Plaintiffs’ requested relief.  
2. Trump Campaign  
Plaintiffs’ brief in opposition to the motions to dismiss spends only one paragraph discussing the merits of its equal-protection claim. Plaintiffs raise two  arguments as to how equal protection was violated. The first is that “Defendants  excluded Republican/Trump observers from the canvass so that they would not  
                                                            
124 Marbury, 5 U.S. at 147.  
125 Perles v. County Return Bd. of Northumberland County, 202 A.2d 538, 540 (Pa. 1964)  (cleaned up).  
126 Id. at 567.  
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observe election law violations.”127 The second claims that the “use of notice/cure  procedures violated equal protection because it was deliberately done in counties  where defendants knew that mail ballots would favor Biden/Democrats.”128 The  former finds no support in the operative pleading, and neither states an equal protection violation.  
Count I of the FAC makes no mention of disparity in treatment of observers  based on which campaign they represented. Instead, Count I discusses the use of  “standardless” procedures. These are two separate theories of an equal protection  violation. That deficiency aside, to the extent this new theory is even pled,  Plaintiffs fail to plausibly plead that there was “uneven treatment” of Trump and  Biden watchers and representatives. Paragraphs 132-143 of the FAC are devoted  to this alleged disparity. None of these paragraphs support Plaintiffs’ argument. A  selection below:  
∙ “Defendants have not allowed watchers and representatives to be  present . . .”129  
∙ “In Centre County, the central pre-canvassing location was a large  ballroom. The set-up was such that the poll watchers did not have  meaningful access to observe the canvassing and tabulation process of  mail-in and absentee ballots, and in fact, the poll watchers and  observers who were present could not actually observe the ballots  such that they could confirm or object to the validity of the ballots.”130
                                                            
127 Doc. 170 at 29. Count I makes no mention of the poll-watching allegations, nor does it seek  relief for any violation of law on the basis of those allegations. Out of an abundance of  caution, however, the Court considers whether these allegations state a claim.  128 Id.
129 Doc. 125 at ¶ 134 (emphasis added).  
130 Id. at ¶ 135 (emphasis added).  
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∙ “In Philadelphia County, poll watchers and canvass representatives were denied access altogether in some instances.”131
∙ “In Delaware County, observers were denied access to a back room  counting area . . .”132
None of these allegations (or the others in this section) claim that the Trump  Campaign’s watchers were treated differently than the Biden campaign’s watchers.  Simply alleging that poll watchers did not have access or were denied access to  some areas does not plausibly plead unequal treatment. Without actually alleging  that one group was treated differently than another, Plaintiffs’ first argument falls  flat.  
Likewise, Plaintiffs cannot salvage their notice-and-cure theory by invoking  Bush v. Gore.133 Plaintiffs claim that the Equal Protection clause “imposes a  ‘minimum requirement for nonarbitrary treatment of voters’ and forbids voting  systems and practices that distribute resources in ‘standardless’ fashion, without  ‘specific rules designed to ensure uniform treatment.’”134 Plaintiffs attempt to craft  a legal theory from Bush, but they fail because: (1) they misapprehend the issues at  play in that case; and (2) the facts of this case are distinguishable.  
Plaintiffs’ interpretation of Bush v. Gore would broaden the application of  that case far beyond what the Supreme Court of the United States endorsed. In  Bush, the Supreme Court stopped a recount of votes in Florida in the aftermath of  
                                                            
131 Id. at ¶ 136 (emphasis added).  
132 Id. at ¶ 137 (emphasis added).  
133 531 U.S. 98 (2000).  
134 Doc. 170 at 13.  
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the 2000 Presidential Election. Despite Plaintiffs’ assertions, Bush does not stand  for the proposition that every rule or system must ensure uniform treatment. In  fact, the Supreme Court explicitly said so, explaining: “[t]he question before the  Court is not whether local entities, in the exercise of their expertise, may develop  different systems for implementing elections.”135 Instead, the Court explained that  its holding concerned a “situation where a state court with the power to assure  uniformity has ordered a statewide recount with minimal procedural  safeguards.”136 Where a state court has ordered such a remedy, the Supreme Court  held that “there must be at least some assurance that the rudimentary requirements  of equal treatment and fundamental fairness are satisfied.”137 In other words, the  lack of guidance from a court constituted an equal-protection violation.  
In the instant matter, Plaintiffs are not challenging any court action as a  violation of equal protection, and they do not allege that Secretary Boockvar’s  guidance differed from county to county, or that Secretary Boockvar told some  counties to cure ballots and others not to. That some counties may have chosen to  implement the guidance (or not), or to implement it differently, does not constitute  an equal-protection violation. “[M]any courts that have recognized that counties  may, consistent with equal protection, employ entirely different election  
                                                            
135 Bush, 531 U.S. at 109 (emphasis added).  
136 Id.
137 Id.  
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procedures and voting systems within a single state.”138 “Arguable differences in  how elections boards apply uniform statewide standards to the innumerable  permutations of ballot irregularities, although perhaps unfortunate, are to be  expected, just as judges in sentencing-guidelines cases apply uniform standards  with arguably different results.”139 Requiring that every single county administer  elections in exactly the same way would impose untenable burdens on counties,  whether because of population, resources, or a myriad of other reasonable  considerations.  
V. CONCLUSION  
Defendants’ motions to dismiss the First Amended Complaint are granted  with prejudice. Leave to amend is denied. “Among the grounds that could justify  a denial of leave to amend are undue delay, bad faith, dilatory motive, prejudice,  and futility.”140 Given that: (1) Plaintiffs have already amended once as of right;  (2) Plaintiffs seek to amend simply in order to effectively reinstate their initial  complaint and claims; and (3) the deadline for counties in Pennsylvania to certify  their election results to Secretary Boockvar is November 23, 2020, amendment  would unduly delay resolution of the issues. This is especially true because the  Court would need to implement a new briefing schedule, conduct a second oral  argument, and then decide the issues.  
                                                            
138 Donald J. Trump for President, 2020 WL 5997680, at *44.  
139 Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless v. Husted, 837 F.3d 612, 636 (6th Cir. 2020).  140 Lorenz v. CSX Corp., 1 F.3d 1406, 1413–14 (3d Cir.1993).  
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An appropriate Order follows.  
BY THE COURT:  
s/ Matthew W. Brann  
Matthew W. Brann   United States District Judge
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