Judge rejects GOP request to throw out ‘cured ballots’

It appears that Republicans have, at least for now, lost one important legal battle in the fight over election rules.

A federal judge in Pennsylvania has rejected a request made by a Republican congressional candidate to throw out ballots that had been “cured,” Politico reported.

When a ballot had a technical issue, such as lacking the necessary secrecy envelope, officials could contact the voter to correct the issue, making it a “cured” ballot.

This is what has been taking place in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

The case

Republican congressional candidate Kathy Barnette argued that cured ballots in Montgomery County should not be counted.

According to Politico, her lawyer argued “that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court had concluded that the law prohibits counties from allowing voters who erred in completing or packaging their mail-in ballots to correct those mistakes.”

Their argument in part regards the fact that there are not uniform election laws in Pennsylvania when it comes to ballot curing — some counties allow it and some don’t.

According to the GOP lawyers, this results in “equivalent votes in different counties are being treated differently,” which they argued is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

“Denied”

However, U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Savage, a George W. Bush appointee, didn’t buy the GOP’s argument.

In response to the argument that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court concluded that the law prohibits ballot curing, Savage said, “I’m not sure about that. Is that exactly what was said or is what was said was that there is no mandatory requirement that the election board do that?”

According to Politico, Savage also “chafed at the lawyer’s suggestion that a miscast absentee vote blocked a voter from fixing that ballot or casting a provisional ballot at the polls.” The outlet reports him as “quizzically” saying, “It counts as your vote, but your vote is not counted.”

The number of ballots in question here does not appear to be a particularly large number, around 50-100. But, the GOP lawyers argued that this can be a significant amount for the county. Either way, it appears that an appeal is now their only chance to obtain a remedy.

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