The undated ballot battle in PA carries on into Election Day
As some voters rush to correct their ballots in some counties, one candidate is suing to try to get them counted.
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As of Monday, Nov. 7, the Philadelphia City Commissioners Office had reported some 3,405 mail-in ballots that were filled out wrong and would likely be rejected when it came to being counted.
As Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Jonathan Lai broke down in a tweet thread, 1,830 were undated, 1,092 were naked ballots — or those that were not put inside the provided secret envelope that then goes inside a larger envelope — 338 were wrongly dated, and 145 were unsigned.
“Out of ≈105K received, 3,405 flawed ballots would be a rejection rate approaching 3%,” Lai wrote in another tweet further down in the thread.
The PA Supreme Court recently ruled that undated mail-in ballots could be thrown out this general election after being accepted in the primaries and facing a tsunami of legal challenges from Republicans in the state.
In response to the ruling, some PA counties like Philadelphia and Allegheny — which contains Pittsburgh — put a call out to the affected voters to give them a chance to correct their ballots.
Philadelphia City Hall’s elections office in Room 140 was the origin of a line that extended out of the historic structure on Monday, as voters scrambled to get their corrected ballots so their votes could be counted on Election Day.
Those still in line were turned away at 5 p.m. last night, but the office reopened this morning to continue intake of voters that need corrected ballots. Voters are also encouraged to go to their polling places and fill out provisional ballots. Provisional ballots are paper ballots accepted as a last resort if the voter is deemed eligible and hasn’t already cast a valid ballot. In the event a mail-in ballot is ruled ineligible, a provisional ballot can be accepted in its place.
On the legal front, despite the PA Supreme Court’s decision on the matter, there are still court battles on the horizon.
Given the rejection of a couple thousand mail-in ballots could determine the outcome in PA’s U.S. Senate race between John Fetterman and Mehmet Oz, the Fetterman campaign launched yet another lawsuit, this time with Democratic U.S. House and Senate support, appealing to a federal judge to allow the counting of undated and wrongly dated ballots in the 2022 PA elections.
The U.S. Supreme Court also recently voided a federal judge’s decision that allowed undated mail-in ballots to be accepted. It did not offer an opinion of its own on the matter.
The lawsuit from Fetterman is also the second from Democrats in the aftermath of the PA State Supreme Court ruling. On Friday, another group of Democrats filed its own lawsuit in Pittsburgh, demanding the counting of undated mail-in ballots.
“The date [requirement] imposes unnecessary hurdles that eligible Pennsylvanians must clear to exercise their most fundamental right, resulting in otherwise valid votes being arbitrarily rejected without any reciprocal benefit to the Commonwealth,” the Fetterman lawsuit was quoted by the Philadelphia Inquirer.