Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court this week ordered counties to decline to count any absentee or mail-in ballot delivered in an undated envelope.
State law, which has permitted no-excuse absentee voting since 2020, requires those not voting in person to place their ballot into a secrecy envelope before placing it into a return envelope. Voter must sign and date that outer envelope for their ballot to be valid under state statute.
Pennsylvania’s Republican Party and its national counterpart filed a lawsuit this week to prevent the state’s Democrat-run executive branch from requiring counties to count undated absentee ballots.
A lawsuit that originated in 2021 to settle a dispute about whether such ballots should be tallied resulted in the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals answering in the affirmative this June. That ruling decided a race for Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas in favor of Democrat Zachary Cohen over Republican David Ritter.
The U.S. Supreme Court invalidated a lower federal court’s decision Tuesday allowing Pennsylvania counties to count undated mail-in ballots.
The case originated in 2021 after Republican David Ritter and Democrat Zachary Cohen vied for a judgeship on the Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas and their race came to a near tie. Cohen eventually netted a five-vote lead when the Philadelphia-based Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals resolved a dispute between the candidates about whether to count 257 absentee ballots. Those sheets were returned in envelopes on which the voter failed to write a date.
Pennsylvania House State Government Committee Chairman Seth Grove (R-York) released a report Tuesday detailing “a myriad of election issues” in the Keystone State.
Speaking to reporters at the Capitol Building, Grove reviewed his findings, including inconsistent vote-counting rules, ballot harvesting, fraud and administrative errors. The new report is the third he has issued concerning election problems since November 2020.
A federal appeals court this week blocked certification of the election results for the contest between Republican David Ritter and Democrat Zachary Cohen for Lehigh County, Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas Judge.
Currently, Ritter is 74 votes ahead of Cohen, but the win would flip to the Democrat should the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decide to count 257 absentee ballots that lack handwritten dates on their return envelopes. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Pennsylvania is litigating on behalf of five of the voters who cast those ballots.
Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court this week ruled that 257 flawed ballots in a Lehigh County judgeship election cannot be counted, prompting Democratic candidate Zachary Cohen to announce a state Supreme-Court appeal.
Excluding these mail-in ballots, which contain no date on their return envelopes, puts Republican David Ritter 74 votes ahead of Cohen in their contest for Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas judge, in which about 22,000 total votes were cast. Ritter initially sued in county court to exclude 261 ballots, four of which displayed a date, albeit not on the correct line. Trial Judge Edward D. Reibman (D) handed down a ruling favorable to Cohen, spurring Ritter to appeal to the Commonwealth Court which handles litigation between governing entities, public officials and candidates.