Local governments have issued a warning to potential mail-in voters in the competitive and heated Senate race in Pennsylvania involving Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz and Democrat John Fetterman due to a recent development that may prevent their votes from being counted.
According to NPR, federal law prohibits disqualifying a ballot for what would be seen a trivial reason since it recognizes that people are not perfect. Voters must, however, specifically date and sign a postal ballot according to Pennsylvania state law.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court was unable to agree last week on whether the absence of a date constitutes a serious enough violation to invalidate the votes in response to a lawsuit brought by the Republican National Committee, which argued that a strict interpretation of the law should take precedence.
As a result, the court mandated that ballots that had date errors be disregarded.
PENNSYLVANIA: Hundreds of mail-in ballots have been reported as incorrectly dated. If you submitted a mail-in ballot in Allegheny County, please make sure your name isn’t on this list. Having the wrong or no date means your ballot won’t count.https://t.co/fxpA7t4Goj pic.twitter.com/uGM8wVxjyp
— MYFAM Productions (@myfamny) November 7, 2022
That means that although those ballots won’t be counted on Tuesday, they might still be relevant if the state Supreme Court decision is overturned by a later court decision.
In order to have the erroneously or undeclaredly dated ballots counted, the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit.
Pennsylvania has received more than 850,000 mail-in ballots, as reported by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
1/ @GOP legal argument against accepting undated ballots in #Pennsylvania is simple; hand-written date, opposed to postmark stamp, is a genuine & further safeguard to protect integrity of the voter's ballot…https://t.co/5VIIgKBo0C#Election2022 #ElectionDay #ElectionNight
— Ocean Floor Investigations (@ofiresearch) November 7, 2022
Allegheny County has disclosed 1,000 names of voters whose ballots include clerical errors on its website in compliance to the court’s judgment.
The county noted in the letter that “On Saturday, November 5, 2022, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued an order defining what incorrectly dated declaration envelopes are to supplement its prior order that undated and incorrectly dated mail-in and absentee ballots should be segregated and not counted.”
“Specifically, mail-in ballots with dates of September 19 through November 8 are properly dated. Absentee ballots with dates of August 30 through November 8 are properly dated. All others are segregated and will not count pursuant to the Court’s order,” according to the notice.
More on this story via The Western Journal:
“As there is not opportunity to notify impacted voters by letter of this decision and their opportunity to cure, we are instead providing a list of those voters who returned ballots in these two categories: no date and incorrectly dated,” it said.
Berks County has taken similar steps, according to WFMZ-TV in Allentown.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported, “Several lawyers immediately noted that could potentially bolster a legal argument that Democrats and voting-rights groups have made that the state’s dating requirement is merely a technicality that isn’t used to determine the legitimacy of the vote. Throwing votes out for such a technicality, they argue, violates federal civil rights law.” CONTINUE READING…