US Midterms: Pa. Voters Scramble to Cast New Ballots After Court Ruling

Voters were scrambling to cast replacement ballots in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, the day of the midterm elections. This comes six days after the state Supreme Court ruled that ballots with missing or inaccurate dates shouldn't be counted.

US Midterms: Pa. Voters Scramble to Cast New Ballots After Court Ruling
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Facts

  • Voters were scrambling to cast replacement ballots in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, the day of the midterm elections. This comes six days after the state Supreme Court ruled that ballots with missing or inaccurate dates shouldn't be counted.
  • The attempt to fix or replace ballots comes after the Monroe County Court of Common Pleas on Monday ruled against Republicans who had sued to prevent county officials from sorting through ballots to help voters resolve any issues.
  • Judge Arthur L. Zulick said the Pennsylvania Supreme Court didn’t clearly state what should be done with the ballots that have date problems, and the role of the court should be to “enfranchise the voter when interpreting ambiguous statutes.”
  • Also on Monday, House and Senate Democrats, and Senate candidate John Fetterman (Pa.-D), sued to have the discounted mail-in ballots counted — insisting that enforcing the stringent date rule would violate the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  • Before the state Supreme Court ruling, multiple judges had ruled over the past two years that on-time mail-in ballots would be eligible to be counted even if they lacked a date on the outer envelope. Republicans sued in October and won a favorable ruling last Tuesday.
  • More than 1.1M Pennsylvanians had submitted mail-in ballots as of Monday, with approximately 70% of them coming from Democrats. In Philadelphia County, the most populous in the state, more than 2k ballots were incorrectly dated or undated, while nearly 1k in Allegheny County had similar issues.

Sources: Washington Post, FOX News, NBC, and New York Post.

Narratives

  • Republican narrative, as provided by RedState. Ballots that lack a proper date are ineligible under state law, the state Supreme Court ruling, and common sense. The only reason Democrats are suing to get them counted is that they’re desperate in the face of Dr. Oz’s momentum toward defeating John Fetterman for the open Pennsylvania Senate seat. What Democrats should do is encourage their voters who can’t put a simple correct date on their ballots to get up and vote in person next time.
  • Democratic narrative, as provided by CNN. The only way to fight back against this Republican attack on Americans’ rights to vote is by using the same tactic they used — file suit. The date provision is nothing but a barrier to exercising fundamental voting rights, especially in vulnerable communities. It has no bearing on the qualification of the voter or the submitted ballot. This disagreement has yet to be 100% settled.