Mailed ballots that arrive on time but in envelopes without handwritten dates by Pennsylvania voters should be counted, a federal judge ruled Tuesday in a case expected to end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The decision by U.S. District Judge Susan Paradise Baxter is expected to be appealed to the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals before reaching the high court, whose final word on what is known as Often “undated ballots” could help determine the outcome of the vote. the 2024 presidential race and other key upcoming elections in this swing state.
The plaintiffs in these two lawsuits – including the Pennsylvania State Conference of the NAACP and Democratic campaign committees for candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate – argue that ballots in Return envelopes without a handwritten date or with an incorrect date should not be disqualified. the 2022 midterm elections and future races in Pennsylvania.
Although these handwritten dates are required by Pennsylvania state law, they are not used to confirm whether a person is eligible to vote. Counties included ballots arriving in undated or incorrectly dated return envelopes in the final tally of votes from previous elections.
Failing to count these types of ballots, the plaintiffs claim, would violate the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which states that a person’s right to vote cannot be denied for “an error or omission” that is not ” not important” in determining voting eligibility.
The Republican National Committee and other Republican groups joined the cause to oppose the counting of ballots without handwritten or incorrectly dated dates.
For the 2022 midterm elections, registered Democrats led Republicans in absentee voting in Pennsylvania and nationally, according to analysis by the United States Elections Project.
In 2022, the United States Supreme Court overturned a lower court’s decision in a similar case regarding ballots for a Pennsylvania county judge race after the Republican candidate conceded. Three of the high court’s conservative justices — Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch — have indicated they are not convinced that disqualifying ballots for missing handwritten dates violates the Civil Rights Act.
Edited by Benjamin Swasey
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