Supreme Court rules in favor of counting undated mail-in ballot envelopes in PA

Pennsylvania, which seems to be one of a handful of states that have a perpetual problem with voting and ballot law disputes, along with their ineptitude in delivering results on the night of an election, just received bombshell news from the state’s high court.

According to The Hill, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week that mail-in ballots, received on time, in an envelope without a handwritten date, should still be counted.

While the state just went through another absolutely embarrassing situation in not being able to determine the winner of a recent GOP primary election, the Supreme Court’s ruling on this matter stems from a judicial election in 2021.

However, the ruling will almost undoubtedly have implications for all future elections in the state, including the upcoming midterms in November.

Background

The ruling came on the heels of the high court’s previous ruling that temporarily blocked a lower court decision that instructed the state’s election officials to count mail-in ballots in an envelope without a handwritten date, as Pennsylvania state law requires.

While the Supreme Court ruled in favor of counting such ballots, the high court’s three most conservative justices dissented, including Justice Samuel Alito.

“When a mail-in ballot is not counted because it was not filled out correctly, the voter is not denied the right to vote,” Alito wrote, along with Justices Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas.

He added: “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.”

The dispute came on the heels of the numerous controversies that arose out of the 2020 election, as several states seemed to “make up” new rules regarding mail-in ballots on the fly, citing the COVID-19 pandemic as reasons to make changes.

Backlash

Many on social media were clearly unhappy with the latest SCOTUS decision on the matter, asking which election rules and laws will go by the wayside next.

With the pandemic winding down, it’ll be interesting to see which new mail-in ballot rules stand and which ones continue to be challenged as the November midterms approach.

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