Pennsylvania Monroe County Pre-Canvass Challenge
Monroe County Republican Committee v. Monroe County Board of Elections
Lawsuit filed by the Monroe County Republican Committee, its vice chairman and two voters against the Monroe County Board of Elections and its two commissioners alleging that the county is violating state law by pre-canvassing mail-in and absentee ballots ahead of the state deadline. Pre-canvassing is the process by which Pennsylvania election officials “examine each ballot cast to determine if the declaration envelope is properly completed and to compare the information with the information contained in the ‘Registered Absentee and Mail-in Voters File.’” The plaintiffs allege that Monroe County has already begun pre-canvassing the ballots it has received, even though they argue that the “Pennsylvania Election Code states: ‘The county board of elections shall meet no earlier than seven o’clock A.M. on election day to pre-canvass all ballots received prior to the meeting.’” Further, the plaintiffs suggest that the county board is “actively violating multiple provisions of the Election Code by conducting the pre-canvass activities absent proper legal notice, absent the presence of partisan observers or representatives” and by accessing “secured ballots” that are allegedly supposed to remain in protective custody until the pre-canvass begins on the morning of Nov. 8. The plaintiffs ask the court to find that the Monroe County Board of Elections’ actions are “illegal, improper, and a violation of Pennsylvania’s Election Code” and block the defendants “from continuing their illegal removal of absentee and mail-in ballots from their locked and/or sealed containers prior to 7:00 a.m. on Election Day.”
On Nov. 7, the court denied the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction, thereby allowing Monroe County to continue pre-canvassing mail-in ballots. The plaintiffs later voluntarily dismissed the case.