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According to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Ballots That Were Improperly or Never Dated Must Be Discarded

General election ballots that are mailed in undated or erroneously dated envelopes must be set aside and not tallied by election boards, according to a ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The Republican National Committee, the Republican Congressional Committee, and the Republican Party of Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit, and the court issued an order on Tuesday ordering the segregation and preservation of any ballots found in undated or erroneously dated outer envelopes.

The court recognized it was “evenly divided” on whether omitting to count the updated or improperly dated ballots counts as a violation of federal election law in the 3-3 tied decision (a seat on the bench remained vacant following the chief justice’s passing). In contrast to the three justices who stated they would not find a violation of federal law, the other three justices said they would.

The complaint, filed by state and federal Republicans last month, claimed that Pennsylvania’s interim secretary of the commonwealth had disregarded the General Assembly by ordering county boards to count ballots that had been delivered on time but without a dated envelope.

However, it “underscores the importance of the state’s continuous admonition that voters should carefully follow all instructions on their mail ballot and double-check it before returning it,” according to the Pennsylvania Department of State, which said it was examining the ruling.

Voters who believe they may have made mistakes on votes they have already mailed in can contact their county elections board or call the department’s voter hotline at 1-877-VOTESPA, according to spokesman Amy Gulli.

The two-page ruling said merely that opinions would be made public later and gave no further explanation of the judges’ justification. According to RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, “This verdict is a tremendous victory for Pennsylvania voters and the rule of law.”

“Republicans went to court, and now Democrats and all counties have to obey the law: this is a landmark in Republicans’ continuous attempts to make it simpler to cast a ballot and more difficult to vote ill-gotten gains in Pennsylvania and across the country.”

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