While Pennsylvania is one of several states still counting ballots, county elections officials have been required by SCOTUS Justice Samuel Alito to separate ballots that arrived after Election Day. Will this affect the state’s count?
As several key states continue tallying ballots, Pennsylvania was ordered to keep mail-in ballots that arrived after the deadline set by state law separate.
- In an emergency ruling, United States Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito ordered ballots that arrive up to three daysafter Election Day be kept separate but can still be tallied.
- The controversy stems from a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling that ordered the tallying of late ballots up to three days after Election Day, despite the state’s legislature setting the Election Day deadline.
- The Pennsylvania GOP alleged at least two dozen counties were not affirming their adherence to a state directive to keep ballots arriving after Election Day separate from those meeting the date mandated by the legislature.
- In his opinion, Alito wrote: “Neither the [Pennsylvania Republican Party] nor the Secretary has been able to verify that all boards are complying with the Secretary’s guidance, which, it is alleged, is not legally binding on them.”
- Justice Alito referred the case to the full Supreme Court for review.
- A similar court ruling in Minnesota ordered separating late-arriving ballots.
- The U.S. Supreme Court previously rebuffed Pennsylvania Republicans’ appeals on this issue but Alito complained the state’s Democratic officials in charge of election administration did not notify the Court of a modification to their directives after the Court previously ruled.
- The Washington Post framed the fact that some counties would not verify their compliance by reporting state GOP officials “acknowledged that the party did not know of any county specifically not complying” with the state directive to separate ballots.
- The Guardian characterizes the Alito order as “not particularly consequential” while headlining Republican legal efforts are “not going well”.
- Fox News reported this issue will be back before the US Supreme Court and could overturn the state court’s previous ruling on late ballots
- Conservative blog Legal Insurrection notes the order is very narrow and does not address issues related to signature verification on mail-in ballots, which was addressed in lower court rulings.
- In its reporting, Townhall.com wrote the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s previous rulings also prevent mail-in ballots with signatures that don’t match state records cannot be invalidated.
© Dallas Gerber, 2020