President Trump’s campaign sued the city of Philadelphia on Thursday night, escalating a battle with city commissioners who have barred campaign representatives from overseeing the voter registration process ahead of the 2020 election.
The Trump 2020 Campaign is asking the court to compel city officials to allow its representatives inside satellite offices to observe people as they register to vote or fill out mail-in ballots. City and state officials have argued there is no legal basis for campaign representatives to oversee procedures prior to Election Day.
“Bad things are happening in Philadelphia,” the campaign’s lawsuit said. “While transparency and accountability are hallmarks of election integrity, the actions of Philadelphia election officials to date have undermined election integrity by shrouding the casting of ballots in secrecy.”
Philadelphia officials have established satellite offices throughout the city to help with voter registration and an expected influx of mail-in ballots over the next several weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic. Voters will also be able to submit their ballots at the offices.
The offices, newly legal under state law, were a source of immediate friction when they opened Tuesday. City officials blocked Trump campaign employees who attempted to enter the buildings to observe.
Trump criticized the situation during his debate against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday night.
“Today there was a big problem in Philadelphia,” Trump said at the debate in Cleveland. “You know why? Because bad things happen in Philadelphia, bad things.”
Pennsylvania is a key battleground state in the upcoming election. A Fox News poll on Sept. 24 showed Biden with a 7-point lead over Trump in the state. Trump won Pennsylvania by a thin margin in 2016.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.