Pennsylvania Election Fight Reaches Supreme Court

Decision could hint at rulings in upcoming cases
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 28, 2020 4:27 PM CDT
Smaller Supreme Court Gets First Election Test
Pennsylvania's Official Democratic General Primary mail-in ballot and secrecy envelope, shown in May.   (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

The eight-justice Supreme Court was asked Monday to step into a Pennsylvania case about deadlines for mail-in ballots, the first election issue raised to the court since Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died. Republicans want a state Supreme Court ruling blocked that would allow ballots to be counted in the swing state for the rest of election week, Axios reports. A stay from the justices would revert the deadline to 8pm on Election Day, Nov. 3. Not only do thousands of ballots hang in the balance, but the decision could be an indication of what the court will do in future election cases. President Trump won Pennsylvania in 2016, and his reelection campaign is against such extensions. The court invoked its power to extend deadlines during a disaster emergency, citing concerns about postal delays and increased requests for mail-in ballots this year.

Under the state ruling, a victory for Democrats, counties have to count ballots they receive during the Tuesday-Friday period that don't have a postmark, unless there's evidence that they were mailed after polls were closed, per the Morning Call. "This is an open invitation to voters to cast their ballots after Election Day, thereby injecting chaos and the potential for gamesmanship into what was an orderly and secure schedule of clear, bright-line deadlines," GOP lawyers wrote. The court agreed with Democrats by putting a stop to a Republican plan to station partisan poll watchers in counties in which they don't live, per the Washington Post. The ruling also permits the use of drop boxes in which voters can leave their ballots, which Trump also opposes. Democrats haven't filed a response with the US Supreme Court. (More US Supreme Court stories.)

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