Democrats Seek To Intervene in Pennsylvania Ballot Counting Lawsuit

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Monday, Nov. 7, Fetterman for PA (the U.S. Senate campaign for John Fetterman (D), the state’s current lieutenant governor), Cartwright for Congress (U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright’s (D-Pa.) re-election campaign) the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit brought by Monroe County Republicans against the Monroe County Board of Elections regarding the pre-canvassing of mail-in and absentee ballots. In Pennsylvania, there is a slight distinction between mail-in and absentee ballots, but we will use “mail-in ballots” to refer to both types of ballots. 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 Republican plaintiffs allege that Monroe County has already begun pre-canvassing ballots it has already received, even though 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.’” 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.”

In their motion to intervene, the Democrats argue that what the Republican plaintiffs “describe” as pre-canvassing “is not pre-canvassing.” According to the proposed Democratic intervenors, “Monroe County has received nearly 14,000 mail-in and absentee ballots” and  “nearly 70% of these ballots have been returned by registered Democrats.” They also note, given that “Democratic voters in Monroe County have submitted mail ballots at a rate of nearly four times that of Republican voters,” segregating these ballots and potentially invalidating them stands to disenfranchise Democrats at a “severely disproportionate rate.” 

Read the motion to intervene here.

Learn more about the case here.