Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro responded to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz after the Texas Republican criticized election vote counting in largely Democratic-run cities, including Philadelphia, while on Fox News “The Sean Hannity Show” Thursday night.
“What we’re seeing tonight, what we’ve been seeing the last three days, is outrageous,” Cruz said on the show. “It is partisan, it is political and it is lawless. We’re seeing this pattern in Democratic city after Democratic city, but the worst in the country right now is Philadelphia.”
Cruz based his allegations on disputes by the Trump campaign that state poll watchers, largely concentrated in Philadelphia, were unable to get close enough to see whether mail-in ballot envelopes had signatures along with eligible voters’ names and addresses, The Associated Press reported. Ballots without that could be challenged or disqualified.
A state judge on Thursday ordered Philadelphia officials to allow party and candidate observers to move closer to election workers. The decision was appealed by Philadelphia.
“I am angry and I think the American people are angry because by throwing the observers out, by clouding the vote counting in a shroud of darkness, they are setting the stage to potentially steal an election, not just from the president, but from the over 60 million people across this country who voted for him,” Cruz said. “It is lawless and they need to follow the law.”
President Donald Trump made similar remarks Thursday night, alleging, without evidence, that Democrats in Pennsylvania and in other places were trying to steal the election.
Trump held a lead over opponent Joe Biden until Friday morning as mail-in ballots continued to be counted. About 65% of mail ballots were cast by Democratic voters.
Following Cruz’s remarks, Katie Couric, former “Today” host and evening anchor at “CBS Nightly News,” asked Shapiro to respond. According to Couric’s Twitter, Shapiro said, “@SenTedCruz should know better. And he should also stay the hell out of Pennsylvania’s business.”
On Friday, Cruz responded by saying, “When you’re breaking the law, ignoring court orders, counting ballots in secret & threatening to steal the presidency, it’s not ‘PA’s business.’ It’s America’s business, and we have the right to expect votes will be counted (1) fairly, (2) w/ transparency & (3) NOT in secret.”
Shapiro countered, “Counselor, as you may recall from your days practicing law, in court we deal with facts and evidence — you have none.”
Shapiro’s campaign office did not immediately respond to questions for additional comment.
According to The Associated Press, more than 2.6 million mail-in ballots were cast in Pennsylvania with no reports of fraud or the accuracy of the county. As of 5:30 p.m. Friday, more than 102,000 mail-in ballots remained to be counted.
Megan Tomasic is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 724-850-1203, [email protected] or via Twitter .
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