State of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Washington County Mail-in Ballot Error Concealment Challenge

Center for Coalfield Justice v. Washington County Board of Elections

Lawsuit filed by American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania on behalf of the Center for Coalfield Justice, the Washington Branch NAACP and seven Pennsylvania voters challenging the Washington County Board of Elections’ decision to conceal information from voters whose mail-in ballots would not be counted in the 2024 primary election. In April 2024, the board voted to adopt a new mail-in voting policy requiring the county to enter all mail-in ballots, including those which were already identified as defective and would not be counted, into Pennsylvania’s Statewide Uniform Registry of Electors (SURE) system as “received” rather than “pending” or “canceled.” The plaintiffs argue this action meant that voters with defective ballots would not receive notice that their ballot would not be counted or be given the option of either curing their mail-in ballot or voting in person with a provisional ballot on Election Day. The board also instructed election officials not to provide any information to voters who asked about the status of their ballots. 

Prior to April 2024, the board’s policy was to notify voters with ballot envelope mistakes and provide them with an opportunity to cure their envelopes so their votes could be counted. The plaintiffs argue this new policy intentionally misleads voters with disqualified ballots into thinking their vote would be counted and violates the Pennsylvania Constitution’s due process guarantee. They ask the court to prohibit the board from misleading voters about their mail-in ballot status. They also request that the board be ordered to provide absentee voters with accurate, timely information concerning their ballot status so voters with defective ballots have the opportunity to cast a provisional ballot on Election Day.

STATUS: The plaintiffs filed their complaint on July 1, 2024. The Washington County Board of Elections has not responded yet.

Case Documents

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