Pennsylvania Undated and Wrongly Dated Mail-in Ballots Challenge (Eakin)
Eakin v. Adams County Board of Elections
Lawsuit filed by three Pennsylvania voters, Fetterman for PA (the U.S. Senate campaign for John Fetterman (D), the state’s current lieutenant governor), the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) against Pennsylvania’s 67 county boards of elections challenging the “Date Instruction,” which prevents counties from counting undated mail-in ballots (ballots that are timely cast and valid but missing a date on their outer return envelopes) and wrongly dated mail-in ballots (ballots that are timely cast and valid but have an incorrect date, such as the voter’s birthday, on their outer return envelopes). In Pennsylvania, there’s a slight distinction between absentee and mail-in ballots, but we will use “mail-in ballots” to refer to both types of ballots. The plaintiffs allege that not counting undated and wrongly dated mail-in ballots violates the Materiality Provision of the Civil Rights Act by denying an individual the right to vote for a reason that is not material to determining that individual’s eligibility. The plaintiffs argue that the date requirement is immaterial because “Pennsylvania law determines voter eligibility based on the date of the election—rather than the date of marking the ballot—[so] the Date Instruction provides no information about whether a voter is qualified.” The plaintiffs also allege that not counting undated or wrongly dated mail-in ballots violates the First and 14th Amendments by placing an undue burden on the right to vote. The plaintiffs request that the court declare the Date Instruction and “any other provision that requires voters to provide (correct) dates on their mailing envelope—or precludes election officials from counting ballots that lack such dates” in violation of the Materiality Provision of the Civil Rights Act and First and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. The plaintiffs also request that the defendants be prohibited from rejecting absentee and mail-in ballots that do not comply with the Date Instruction.