Supreme Court Allows ‘Undated’ Ballots in PA

U.S. Supreme Court

The United States Supreme Court has denied the application for stay of the 3rd Circuit Court decision to allow the counting of so-called undated mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania.

The justices voted to lift a temporary freeze imposed last week. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. had issued a two-sentence order on June 1 that stayed a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which ruled previously that such ballots should be counted in a contested 2021 judicial race – Linda Migliori v. Lehigh County Board of Elections.

Three justices — Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Neil M. Gorsuchnoted their dissents from the court’s order.

Alito wrote in his dissent that the decision to leave the 3rd Circuit’s ruling in place may have an impact on the federal and state elections that will be held in Pennsylvania in November.

“The Third Circuit’s interpretation broke new ground, and at this juncture, it appears to me that that interpretation is very likely wrong. If left undisturbed, it could well affect the outcome of the fall elections, and it would be far better for us to address that interpretation before, rather than after, it has that effect. I would therefore enter a stay pending certiorari and advise that any petition for certiorari and brief in opposition should be filed expeditiously. If that is done, the Court will be in a position to grant review, set an expedited briefing schedule, and if necessary, set the case for argument in October.”

Pennsylvania law requires those voting by mail to “fill out, date and sign” a form on the outer envelope used to return their ballots. But election officials concede they will count otherwise valid ballots where the date is obviously wrong, such as reflecting the voter’s birth date or even some date in the future. They just discard the ones where the date is left blank, even if the postmark shows it met the state’s deadline.

“In future elections, this issue could impact thousands of voters in Pennsylvania,” said Reggie Shuford, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania. “We are hopeful that this ruling diminishes the likelihood of disenfranchisement of voters for what is a simple human error.”

 
 

3 Responses

  1. The intended purpose of written guidelines and requirements is to have a uniform understanding of what is required of every citizen when they vote and those who fail to follow instructions will not have their ballot eligible for the applicable election.

  2. GOP lugs will try whatever, no matter how absurd, to preserve their efforts to deny votes for any stupid reason.

  3. There is no new ground. The dating of the ballot is extraneous and pointless as the dating of the ballot that matters is done by the post office or the drop box officials.

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