State of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania COVID-19 Vote By Mail Expansion

Pennsylvania Democratic Party v. Boockvar

Lawsuit filed by the Pennsylvania Democratic Party and voters against the Pennsylvania secretary of state and all 67 county board of elections seeking to protect and expand mail-in voting for the 2020 general election. Specifically, the plaintiffs asked the state court for a ruling that drop boxes are permitted; ballots mailed by Election Day but received up to one week after must be counted; election officials must provide meaningful notice and opportunity for voters to cure deficient mail-in ballots; “naked” ballots (mail-in ballots returned without an outer secrecy envelope) must be counted; and that Pennsylvania’s poll watcher residency requirement doesn’t violate federal law. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court took over the case, agreeing with the plaintiffs that drop boxes are permitted under Pennsylvania law and the poll watcher residency requirement is constitutional. The court also extended the ballot receipt deadline by three days so that ballots cast by 8 p.m. on Election Day, (Nov. 3, 2020) and received by 5 p.m. on Nov. 6, 2020 would be counted. The court rejected the plaintiffs’ two remaining requests.

Republican legislative leaders immediately went to the U.S. Supreme Court asking it to pause the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s three-day extension of the ballot receipt deadline. The U.S. Supreme Court denied this request. Soon after, the Republican Party of Pennsylvania similarly went to the Court to ask it to segregate mail-in ballots received after 8 p.m. on Election Day through Nov. 6, 2020 so that these ballots were not included in final vote counts pending the resolution of litigation. Justice Samuel Alito granted this request, ordering the segregation and separate vote tally of these ballots.

Case Documents (PA commonwealth court)

Case Documents (PA SUpreme court)

Case Documents (U.s. supreme court)

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