HARRISBURG, Pa. (Erie News Now) – A lawsuit was filed in Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court that challenges the counting of undated mail ballots. The new lawsuit comes less than a week after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the counting of undated mail ballots in the commonwealth.
Sunday’s joint lawsuit was filed by the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, as well as individual voters.
Last Tuesday’s SCOTUS decision vacated a federal appeals court ruling from earlier this year which allowed for undated mail ballots to count. The SCOTUS ruling aligns with Pennsylvania’s election code which requires the outer envelope of mail ballots to have a handwritten date and signature in order to count.
Following the SCOTUS ruling, the Wolf Administration released a statement saying the Department of State is still advising counties to include undated mail ballots in their official returns. In that statement, Acting Secretary of State, Leigh Chapman, cited a separate case in Commonwealth Court- one of Pennsylvania’s two intermediate appellate courts- from last spring that ruled in favor of counting undated ballots.
“Every county is expected to include undated ballots in their official returns for the Nov. 8 election, consistent with the Department of State’s guidance. That guidance followed the most recent ruling of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court holding that both Pennsylvania and federal law prohibit excluding legal votes because the voter omitted an irrelevant date on the ballot return envelope,” said Chapman in the statement last Tuesday.
Upon filing suit yesterday, Republicans say counting undated ballots is a violation of the state’s election law. At the very least, Republicans are asking the State Supreme Court to order all 67 counties to segregate undated or incorrectly dated ballots.
“As the Pennsylvania legislature and U.S. Supreme Court have made clear, undated mail-in ballots should not be counted. Republicans are holding Pennsylvania Democrats accountable for their brazen defiance of the Supreme Court and the rules duly set by the legislature. Pennsylvania Democrats have a history of election integrity failures and Pennsylvanians deserve better: this lawsuit is the latest step in Republican efforts to promote free, fair, and transparent elections in the Keystone State,” said RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, NRCC Chairman Tom Emmer, and PAGOP Chairman Lawrence Tabas in a joint statement on Monday.