Election integrity has become a hotly contested national issue, especially since 2018.
Until 2019, Pennsylvania had permitted only limited use of absentee mail-in ballots.
But in response to COVID concerns, the liberal Pennsylvania State Supreme Court allowed for the use of multiple exceptions to existing election laws passed by the legislature.
The legislature made sure their laws include anti-fraud measures, which were negated by the court’s ruling.
This expanded usage for voters who did not otherwise qualify from a list of acceptable excuses.
As a result, more than 2.5 million Pennsylvanians voted by mail during the 2020 presidential election, most of them Democrats, out of 6.9 million total votes.
Acting Secretary of State Leigh M. Chapman said on Tuesday that more than 1.1 million absentee and mail-in ballots have been requested for the fall General Election.
With documented fraud identified in the mail-in ballots in 2020, Republicans sued to require the Commonwealth to abide by state election laws again.
Jason Gottesman, a spokesperson for the state House Republican Caucus, said in a statement that Pennsylvania law “is clear: ballots must be dated,” and urged Governor Wolf’s administration to work on comprehensive election law changes that will make the process more uniform, accessible, modern and secure.
The SCOTUS’s ruled on Tuesday, overriding a 3rd Circuit decision that said state election law’s requirement of date next to the voter’s signature on the outside of return envelopes was “immaterial.”
The case involves the law’s requirement for handwritten dates on return envelopes that are also logged in by county election workers and generally have been postmarked.
That lower court had said it found no reason to refuse counting ballots that were set aside in the Nov. 2, 2021, election for common pleas judge in Lehigh County.
Joshua Voss, a lawyer who represents the losing judicial candidate in the Lehigh County race, Republican David Ritter, said in a phone call Tuesday he believes the effect of the new high court ruling is that state law goes back to where it had been.
“The Department of State certainly should update their guidance,” Mr. Voss said. “But at the end of the day, elections are administered by counties and counties will need to assess what the state of the law was.”
But, acting Secretary of State Chapman said the new U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding how rules for the state’s mail-in ballots had been applied in a county judge election will not change her agency’s guidance about counting them.
Chapman insists that county elections officials should continue to count mail-in votes that arrive in exterior envelopes with inaccurate or nonexistent handwritten dates, despite a requirement in state law.
So unless there is an intervention to enforce the SCOTUS’s ruling, there will most likely be a large number of mail-in ballots, some without dates, a signature, or other required information, showing up late in all future elections.
In 2024, as it stands now, I don’t expect Pennsylvania to be called on election night as the Secretary Of State will be allowing for votes, maybe even 5 days late, like in 2020.
PureTalk – Save Big Money On Your Cell Phone Bill (Use Promo”FLSfree” to get one free month)
MYPILLOW – Save Up To 66% On MyPillow Products – Use Promo Code – FTR