HARRISBURG, PA — The PA Supreme Court came down on the side of Gov. Tom Wolf with its Thursday, September 17 decision that the deadline for counties to accept mail-in ballots will be extended …
HARRISBURG, PA — The PA Supreme Court came down on the side of Gov. Tom Wolf with its Thursday, September 17 decision that the deadline for counties to accept mail-in ballots will be extended to three days following Election Day.
Ballots must be postmarked by November 3 or “have no proof they were sent afterward,” but election officials can count ballots received up until 5 p.m. Friday, November 6.
This is seen as a victory for the governor’s administration and state Democrats. GOP lawmakers are arguing that this extension is dangerous to the integrity of the election.
“Today's decision makes Pennsylvania’s elections less secure and opens the door to serious questions about the integrity of the process in one of the most significant national and state elections in recent memory,” PA Speaker of the House Bryan Cutler and House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff said in a statement. “We are currently examining our legal and legislative options and remain committed to ensuring our elections are conducted in a safe and secure manner with results beyond reproach.”
Cutler and Benninghoff did not cite evidence as to why extending the mail-in deadline threatens the security of the elections.
The high court issued a number of other impactful decisions the same day: that state law allows counties to use drop boxes for hand delivery of mail ballots (a measure used during the spring primary and contested by President Donald Trump); that poll watchers cannot work anywhere but in their home county; and decided that voters cannot ask someone else to deliver their ballots for them.
On the same day, the court also booted Green Party presidential candidate Howie Hawkins off of PA’s ballot completely for failing to follow the state’s election code, according to the justices’ opinion.
Analysts are saying that nearly all of the court’s decisions today tip favorably toward the Democratic Party in this year’s elections. Specifically, the removal of the Green Party candidate could mean more votes for Democratic candidate Joe Biden. As the Philadelphia Inquirer noted, the Green Party candidate in the last presidential election won about 50,000 votes in PA—a state which Trump won by just 44,000 votes.
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