Supreme Court Allows PA To Count Undated Mail-In Ballots, Could Have Huge Implications For Future Elections

Many states tightening their election laws as the country prepares for November’s midterm elections in the hopes that 2020 won’t happen again.

A recent Supreme Court ruling could actually hamper some of these efforts to preserve election integrity. The Supreme Court decided Thursday that election officials in Pennsylvania are permitted to count undated mail-in ballots.

State law requires that the date printed on the envelope be included.

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This could have an impact on all future elections

These ballots relate to a 2021 disputed election. They are not related to the recent and very close Senate Republican primary race. The legality and handling of undated mail-in ballots is a matter that will be of great importance, particularly in November.

It was not clear that the Court majority supported their decision.

Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch dissent from the decision.

Alito said in the dissident:

“When a mail-in ballot is not counted because it was not filled out correctly, the voter is not denied the right to vote. Rather, that individual’s vote is not counted because he or she did not follow the rules for casting a ballot. Casting a vote, whether by following the directions for using a voting machine or completing a paper ballot, requires compliance with certain rules.” 

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Two States, two outcomes

Pennsylvania and Georgia held their primaries recently. There was a substantial overhaul to Georgia’s election law last year. So much so that President Joe Biden himself described it as “Jim Crow in the 21st Century.” There was no such election law reform in Pennsylvania.

Thanks to the new election law, Georgia’s primary elections went smoothly, and Georgians knew the results in a timely manner. It took several weeks for Pennsylvania to know the winner. 

Will there be a case of “here we go again” in Pennsylvania on election night? The time will show.

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