The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that undated mail-in and absentee ballots cannot be counted — a major win for election integrity just a week before Election Day of the 2022 midterms.
The ruling directs Pennsylvania county boards of elections to “segregate and preserve any ballots contained in undated or incorrectly dated outer envelopes” for the Nov. 8 general election but to refrain from counting them.
This decision directly contradicts the Keystone State’s Democrat acting secretary of the commonwealth, Leigh Chapman, who told counties to ignore a previous U.S. Supreme Court ruling that effectively said undated mail-in ballots should not be counted. The Republican National Committee and the Pennsylvania GOP immediately announced a lawsuit in response.
The RNC and the state GOP argued that Chapman’s directive violated state law, as Pennsylvania requires voters to properly date their ballots. In fact, mail-in ballots for this election cycle even contain wording that reads “today’s date required” and clear instructions for voters to “sign and date” their ballots. Under Chapman’s instructions, some of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties would have followed her lead while others would have followed state law and clear ballot instructions, tainting the election with inconsistencies and chaos. The RNC asked the Pennsylvania Supreme Court at least to order counties to segregate undated or incorrectly dated ballots.
“Following an RNC, NRCC, and PAGOP lawsuit, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court has made clear that incorrectly dated and undated mail ballots can not be counted,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said. “Republicans went to court, and now Democrats and all counties have to follow the law: this is a milestone in Republicans’ ongoing efforts to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat in Pennsylvania and nationwide.”
This legal victory by the RNC follows two other recent wins: one against Michigan’s Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson for restricting the rights of poll challengers and another against the North Carolina State Board of Elections for restricting poll watchers.
“Election integrity begins by following the law, and this decision is a big win for Pennsylvanians,” Jason Snead, the executive director of the Honest Elections Project, said in a statement. “Pennsylvania law clearly requires that every mail ballot be dated and signed. That simple, straightforward rule helps to stop late and illegal voting without burdening anyone’s right to vote.”