Pennsylvania court bans the counting of undated mail-in ballots

by Jacob Fuller

Vicky Arias, FISM News


On Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that mail-in ballots with missing or incorrect dates will not be counted in the upcoming November 8 general election for the state.

A coalition of Republican groups, including the Republican National Committee (RNC), filed the lawsuit in October on the grounds that Pennsylvania was “illegally dodging state law and a Supreme Court ruling by saying it will count undated absentee ballots,” according to Fox News when “Leigh Chapman, the Democratic acting secretary of state … defied a U.S. Supreme Court decision and the … Pennsylvania General Assembly by directing county election boards to count undated mail-in ballots.”

In accordance with Pennsylvania state law, voters are required to “date and sign” their ballots before returning them.

While the high court decided not to allow undated votes to be counted, it did call for “Pennsylvania county boards of elections [to] segregate and preserve” the undated ballots, citing the Voting Rights clause of the federal code, which states that an individual cannot be denied the right “to vote in any election because of an error or omission on any record … if such error or omission is not material in determining whether such individual is qualified under State law to vote in such election.” Holding on to the ballots could aid potential future lawsuits that claim the decision to bar the votes violated federal law, should a future court overturn the verdict.

Discontinuity in the way Pennsylvania counties planned to count undated ballots helped fuel the litigation. According to the Associated Press, “Republican Party organizations and several GOP voters sought immediate review by the Supreme Court, bypassing lower courts, once it became clear some county officials planned to throw out ballots without the proper dates [while] others were expected to count them.”

RNC Chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, tweeted that the court’s decision is a “massive election integrity win,” saying that “Republicans went to court. Now Democrats have to follow the law.”

The ruling comes just days before a critical Pennsylvania election is decided between Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Republican Mehmet Oz in a race that could determine control of the United States Senate.

Fetterman and Oz have been campaigning for months in an effort to nab the coveted senate seat in a closely watched race. Recent polling shows the two candidates are locked in a tie, with each receiving 47% of the vote.

According to a Tuesday report from the Associated Press, 1.4 million mail-in ballots were sent out to Pennsylvania voters by request, of which “70% [were requested] from Democrats and … 20% from Republicans.”