Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Trump Lawsuit A ‘Longshot,’ But Could Complicate Vote Certification

Lucy Perkins
90.5 WESA
A lawsuit filed by the Trump campaign in federal court seeks to stop the certification of election results in Pennsylvania.


On today's program: The Trump campaign filed suit in federal court to stop certification of Pennsylvania’s election results; the Pittsburgh Steelers currently have their best start to a season since 1978; and the Film Pittsburgh Fall Festival presents dozens of full-length and short films completely virtually.

Trump campaign files lawsuit over Pennsylvania voting practices
(00:00 — 5:34)

The Trump campaign is suing in federal court to stop the certification of Pennsylvania’s election results. Trump or Republican leaders have also filed suit in Michigan, Arizona, Nevada, and Georgia, and those actions have not resulted in a positive outcome for the president.

In the 105-page complaint, the Trump campaign claims mail-in balloting practices in Democratic majority counties unfairly gave voters a chance to fix minor problems with their ballots.  But, according to WITF’sEmily Previti, Republican majority counties also offered mail-in voters the chance to cure technical problems with their ballots before they were counted.

The Trump campaign also alleged in their lawsuit that poll watchers were not allowed to observe the canvassing of nearly 700,000 ballots in Philadelphia and Allegheny County, among other things.

The campaign won a lawsuit that allowed their watchers to get closer to the ballot counting in Philadelphia, but it looks as though that victory will be challenged in the state Supreme Court. 

Previti has been covering the election, the many lawsuits during the campaign, and the post-election results. She says experts think the lawsuit is a “longshot.”

“Courts generally avoid disenfranchising voters that haven’t themselves made a mistake—so the voter follows the rules as they were at the time of the election,” she says. “In this case, if the court does side with the Trump campaign, it would be forward-looking, it would address procedure in future elections.”

But experts warn the lawsuit could further complicate vote count and certification.

“The timing of this lawsuit, and the resources and bandwidth it might demand from the Department of State and some of those counties that do have such a high percentage of our registered voters in Pennsylvania at a time when they’re trying to get through vote processing so these results can get certified on time, that is something to be concerned about,” Previti says.

Can the Steelers hold on to their winning streak?
(5:37 — 10:56)

The Pittsburgh Steelers reached 8 and 0 for the first time in the franchise’s history this past Sunday after beating the Dallas Cowboys. The team’s previous best start was 7-0 in 1978. That season ended with the Steelers’s third Super Bowl title.


Sean Gentille is a senior writer for The Athletic. He says the Steelers’s performance thus far is a combination of luck and skill.

“It takes a little bit of both to go 8-0 in the NFL. There’s a reason it doesn’t happen all that often,” he says. “This is a really good team that’s also gotten a few breaks.”

The Steelers host Cincinnati this Sunday before traveling to Jacksonville, and will return to Pittsburgh Thanksgiving night to host Baltimore. They could go to 9-0, but four players—including starters Ben Roethlisberger and Vince Williams—have been put on the team’s Reserve/COVID List after being exposed to Vance McDonald, who has the virus.

Film Pittsburgh Fall Festival showcases local, international short and feature films
(11:01 — 18:01)

TheFilm PittsburghFall Festival is underway—virtually—bringing together four separate festivals, 30 independent and foreign-language feature films, and 20 blocks of short films.

Film Pittsburgh executive director Kathryn Spitz-Cohan says while it’s “always challenging” to select the films, the shift online made it possible to share more films than they have in the past.

“I think the fact that we had 12 days and really did not have to adhere to a time slot, we would show a film or a block of films—if you’re talking short films—once or twice at the most. Now, because most of the offerings are available the entire run of the festival and people can watch on their own schedule, I think that that allowed us to include 20 blocks of short films,” she says. “So that’s 137 short films that we’re offering.”

Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Spitz-Cohan says the intention behind the festivals remains the same.

“It’s our mission to bring people together—whether it’s in person or not—but using film as a tool to show universal desires and common aspects of who we are as people.”

The Fall Festival will continue through November 22.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.

Kevin Gavin is the host of WESA's news interview program "The Confluence." He is a native Pittsburgher and served as news director for 90.5 WDUQ for 34 years. Since the sale of the radio station by Duquesne University to Pittsburgh EPM, Inc. (now Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corp.), he served as Executive Producer of Special News Projects prior to being named as host of "The Confluence" five years ago.
Marylee is the editor/producer of The Confluence, the daily public affairs show on WESA. She got her start in journalism at The Daily Reveille and KLSU while attending Louisiana State University. She took her passion for audio journalism to UC Berkeley's graduate program and worked in public radio at WPR in Madison, WI, and WOSU in Columbus, Ohio.
Julia Zenkevich is a general assignment reporter for 90.5 WESA. She first joined the station as a production assistant on The Confluence, and more recently served as a fill-in producer for The Confluence and Morning Edition. She’s a life-long Pittsburgher, and attended the University of Pittsburgh. She can be reached at
Recent Episodes Of The Confluence