Pennsylvania’s top court has ruled that mail-in ballots labeled with the wrong date will not be count.
In a victory for Republicans in the midterms, the court said such votes would be set aside and preserved.
Democrats and Republicans are highly splitting on mail-in ballots. The issue achieved importance after a surge in the 2020 election caused by the pandemic.
Republicans fear postal voting advantages Democrats, even though data suggests both parties are involved equally.
About 70% of the 1.4 million requests for mail-in votes in Pennsylvania this year come from Democrats, resembling 20% from Republicans.
After the last election, then-President Donald Trump criticize mail-in ballots as a “big fraud” and baselessly claimed that millions of votes were sent from abroad as part of a “rigged” election. The retired president slightly won Pennsylvania in 2016 before losing by a narrow margin in 2020, prompting some Republicans to steal the election because of ballot irregularities.
Citing a need for election security, Republicans sued to stop updated ballots from being counted in October.
Said The six members of Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court were evenly divide on whether or not dumping ballots mark with incorrect dates violate the federal Civil Rights Act, which makes it criminal to throw out votes for little reason.
It said that state election officials should “segregate and preserve” any ballots mailed in undated or incorrectly dated envelopes in case of a further legal challenge.
It is unclear whether Pennsylvania will demand against the judgment.
Democrats and civil rights organizations have characterized lawsuits that restrict mail-in voting as efforts to limit votes and potentially tip the scales in tight races.
“We’re disappointed,” said the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania. “No one should be disenfranchise for an unrelate technicality.”
Pennsylvania electoral officials have cautioned that the votes could take many days to be counted and certified. Lawful challenges over mail-in ballots could delay the procedure further.
Mail-in ballots have also been the focus of lawsuits in several other states, including Delaware, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Illinois.