Election Officials Ordered by Pennsylvania Supreme Election Officials to Set Aside Undated Mail-In Ballots

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    On Thursday, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court required election officials in the state to set aside undated mail-in ballots before the midterm elections.

    The court voted unanimously to disqualify mail-in ballots that were undated or incorrectly dated. In accordance with Pennsylvania law, voters who submit mail-in ballots must write the date and sign a declaration on the envelope's outer side. Even so, in the event that undated or incorrectly dated ballots are returned by the correct time, they qualify to be counted.

    However, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered election officials to “segregate and preserve” any incomplete or incorrect mail-in ballots.

    “The Pennsylvania county boards of elections are hereby ORDERED to refrain from counting any absentee and mail-in ballots received for the November 8, 2022 general election that are contained in undated or incorrectly dated outer envelopes,” the court wrote.

    “We hereby DIRECT that the Pennsylvania county boards of elections segregate and preserve any ballots contained in undated or incorrectly dated outer envelopes,” the court said.

    The Pennsylvania Supreme Court wrote this in opposition to Democrat Governor Tom Wolf's administration, which recently instructed local election authorities to use the incorrectly dated or undated mail-in ballots.

    The court's decision follows the Republican National Committee's lawsuit filed against the acting Pennsylvania Secretary of State Leigh Chapman and other state officials.

    Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said the court's decision was a “massive victory.”

    McDaniel said:

    This ruling is a massive victory for Pennsylvania voters and the rule of law. Following an RNC, NRCC, and PAGOP lawsuit, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court has made clear that incorrectly dated and undated mail ballots can not be counted. Republicans went to court, and now Democrats and all counties have to follow the law: this is a milestone in Republicans’ ongoing efforts to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat in Pennsylvania and nationwide.

    While the court's decision may be a triumph for Republicans who have filed legal challenges to laws governing elections in a variety of states, America First Policy Institute Center for Election Integrity Chairman Ken Blackwell cautioned that the decision could be the result of a “tactical retreat” by the court's Democrats. Blackwell stated:

    This is a big win for election integrity, leaving open the question as to how a partisan Democrat state supreme court could have voted for it. There was a question about whether this requirement could be severed from other items the Left cares about. Given that, I’m raising my eyebrows as to whether this was a tactical retreat.

    The justices were divided on whether the requirement to have a date for ballots that are mailed in would violate lawful requirements of the U.S. Civil Rights Act 1964, which states that mistakes that are not material should not be used to disallow voting.

    While three Democrat justices consider the requirement for dating to violate Federal law, only one Democrat and two Republican justices did not find any violation. The justices' opinions weren't immediately made public.

    Of the 1.4 million ballots that Pennsylvania voters asked for, counties have received more than 850,000 completed ballots, according to the Associated Press.

    This case is Ball V. Chapman, No. 1022 MM 2022, in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

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