Democrats sue in Pennsylvania to count mail-in ballots missing proper date

Election 2022 Pennsylvania Senate
Posted at 8:04 AM, Nov 08, 2022

The campaign for John Fetterman has sued county boards of elections in Pennsylvania in hopes of getting possibly thousands of potentially thrown-out mail-in ballots counted.

Last week, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court provided county boards of election guidance on how to count improperly dated mail-in ballots. The court ordered that mail-in ballots missing a valid date on them should be segregated from other ballots.

According to the Philadelphia City Commission, more than 3,000 mail-in ballots with improper or omitted dates must be set aside in today's election if voters do not fix their ballot by 7:30 p.m. today. In a state considered a tossup in this year’s Senate election, Philadelphia has traditionally been one of the state’s most heavily Democratic areas.

Allegheny County, another Democratic stronghold, reported that 451 ballots lacked a proper date. As of Monday, Democrats were over five times more likely to request a ballot in the Pittsburgh area than Republicans.

Also, Democrats were three times more likely to vote by mail than Republicans in 2020 in Pennsylvania.

As Pennsylvania could be the state that decides which party controls the U.S. Senate, it could take days to know who wins between Fetterman and Republican Mehmet Oz. The state requires election officials to wait until polls close to begin counting mail-in votes.

The ACLU says that ballots that aren't properly dated by voters should still be counted.

"It's important that voters sign and date the return envelopes to guarantee that their ballot is counted," said Vic Walczak, legal director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. "Still, the court deadlocked on whether disqualifying ballots without a handwritten date on the return envelope violates federal law. We believe it does. No one should have their ballot discarded over a meaningless technicality."

Fetterman was joined in the lawsuit by Bette Eakin, who said in a court filing that she is undergoing care for a condition that has made her blind and that she would be unable to correct her ballot in time for Tuesday’s election.