State of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Undated and Wrongly Dated Mail-in Ballots Challenge (Ball)

Ball v. Chapman

King’s Bench petition filed by the Republican National Committee, National Republican Congressional Committee, Republican Party of Pennsylvania and Republican voters against Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth Leigh Chapman (D) challenging Pennsylvania Department of State guidance that allows election officials to count undated or incorrectly dated mail-in ballots that were received on time. A King’s Bench petition is filed in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and involves petitioners who seek immediate relief from the state’s highest court. The Republican petitioners allege that the challenged guidance violates the Pennsylvania Election Code, under which they claim that wrongly dated or undated mail-ballots must be disqualified. The petitioners argue that Republican voters will face “irreparable dilution of their votes” and contend that “the integrity [of] the electoral process” in Pennsylvania will be threatened by the counting of these ballots.

They further argue that previous Pennsylvania court decisions that directed county boards of elections to count undated mail-in ballots were “non-precedential” and also maintain that the Materiality Provision of the Civil Rights Act — which prohibits denying the right to vote for reasons that are unrelated to a voter’s eligibility — is not violated when mail-in votes are disqualified for having incorrect or missing dates. The petitioners ask the court to order county boards of elections to not count undated or incorrectly dated mail-in ballots and to “segregate” these ballots received “in connection with the 2022 general election.” Moreover, the Republicans request that the court declare the secretary of the commonwealth’s guidance illegal under Pennsylvania law.

On Oct. 21, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court agreed to hear the King’s Bench petition. After briefing, the court issued a decision directing counties to not count undated and wrongly dated mail-in ballots.

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