This was highly unexpected.
The Supreme Court on Thursday gave the green light for election officials in Pennsylvania to count mail-in ballots with envelopes that don’t have the handwritten date on them. This is a legal requirement within the state.
The disputed ballots are part of a contested 2021 judicial election. However, many believe that this legal fight could also have more effects in light of the upcoming elections and other future elections, as it can alter the requirements for mailed-in ballots.
This latest move came after the Supreme Court decided to block a lower court ruling which had allowed election officials in the Keystone State to count those mail-in ballots that lacked a handwritten date, as is required by state law.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit ruling noted that this Pennsylvania law violated federal election protections as ballots were being discarded.
Justice Samuel Alito, who is in charge of emergency matters coming from Pennsylvania, issued a brief administrative stay of the 3rd Circuit ruling. This will allow the justices the necessary time to think of a formal course of action for this case.
Thursday’s order reinstated the 3rd Circuit decision.
“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. “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.”