‘Undated’ Ballots Will Not Be Counted, Pennsylvania Court Orders

In the latest development in a long and twisting legal battle over how ballots are tallied in Pennsylvania, the state’s highest court ordered state election officials on Tuesday to not count mail ballots with dates omitted or that were incorrectly dated by voters.

These ballots have been at the center of a years-long legal fight in Pennsylvania, where even though state law specifies that election officials must receive ballots by the close of polls for them to count, it also requires that voters date their ballots, which means the date when they are cast has no bearing on whether they’re counted.

After running into a 3-3 deadlock on whether not counting those ballots violated federal law, the state Supreme Court issued a brief order saying Pennsylvania election officials should not count those ballots and should keep them segregated from other ballots.

Pointing out only that opinions would follow at a later date, the court order did not explain any of the justices’ reasoning.

Since Democrats disproportionately vote via the mail, the case – brought by the state Republican Party. the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, and individual voters – will most likely result in tossing out more Democratic-leaning voters.

The state Supreme Court faced a similar situation during the 2020 election when three justices ruled that such ballots should count, and three ruled that they should not, so a fourth justice served as a tiebreaker voting they should count for the 2020 election but not future ones.

Several state and federal lawsuits regarding future elections were eventually spawned from that decision.

Writing that the state law requiring ballots be dated is “immaterial” under federal law and that should have no bearing on whether ballots are accepted or rejected, a federal appeals court ruled earlier this year that undated or incorrectly dated ballots should count in a case about a state legislative race.

Along with a key governor’s race, Pennsylvania is hosting one of the most important Senate races in the country this fall – between Republican Mehmet Oz and Democrat John Fetterman.

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