Shortly after Pennsylvania’s acting Secretary of State Leigh Chapman told counties that they should ignore election law and a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that effectively said mail-in ballots without proper dates can’t be counted, the Republican National Committee announced a lawsuit against the Commonwealth.
As The Federalist previously reported, the U.S. Supreme Court overruled a 3rd Circuit Court decision validating undated mail-in ballots. The high court vacated the lower court’s ruling, meaning the 3rd Circuit’s decision can no longer act as precedent in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey — the states under the lower court’s jurisdiction.
But Chapman decided the Supreme Court’s decision “provides no justification for counties to exclude ballots based on a minor omission, and we expect that counties will continue to comply with their obligation to count all legal votes.” In other words, Chapman advised all of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties to continue counting undated mail-in ballots if they so choose, creating countless inconsistencies in how ballots will be tabulated in the upcoming midterm election.
The RNC’s joint lawsuit with the Pennsylvania GOP and the National Republican Congressional Committee argues that undated mail-in ballots should not be counted because Pennsylvania state law requires voters to properly date their ballots, while also noting that the court has previously affirmed the dating requirement. The RNC has asked the state Supreme Court to order counties to segregate undated and dated ballots if nothing else.
“As the Pennsylvania legislature and U.S. Supreme Court have made clear, undated mail-in ballots should not be counted,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a press release. “This lawsuit is the latest step in Republican efforts to promote free, fair, and transparent elections in the Keystone State.”
Restoring Integrity and Trust in Elections (RITE) has also filed a petition with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on behalf of several voters concerned about Chapman’s insistence on counting faulty mail-in ballots.
“The law of the Commonwealth is clear that undated and incorrectly dated mail-in ballots must not be counted. And after the U.S. Supreme Court’s actions last week, no federal law says otherwise,” RITE President and CEO Derek Lyons said in a statement. “When voters cast a ballot, they should be confident that election officials are protecting the integrity of elections, not abusing their discretion to chase partisan outcomes.”