Pennsylvania Counties Sued Over Failure To Certify Undated Mail-in Ballots
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On July 11, Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Leigh Chapman (D) and the Pennsylvania Department of State sued three county boards of elections (Berks, Fayette and Lancaster) for their failure to include valid undated mail-in ballots in election certification totals for the 2022 primary election. Aside from these three counties, the other 64 counties in the state certified their election results with tallies including undated mail-in ballots, which means ballots were missing a handwritten date on their outer return envelope but were otherwise valid. According to the lawsuit, all three counties informed the Pennsylvania Department of State that they would not “transmit to the Department certified election results that included any timely received absentee or mail-in ballot for which the voter failed to handwrite a date on the return envelope’s declaration.” When ordered by the Department of State to include undated ballots in the total, the county election boards refused or ignored the request. This lawsuit comes after previous lawsuits in state and federal courts in Pennsylvania established that undated mail-in ballots must be counted.
The plaintiffs request that the court ensure all eligible mail-in ballots are counted and included in vote certification totals even if voters failed to write a date on the outer mailing envelope when completing their ballots. In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs argue that the county boards are refusing to execute their “mandatory duty to certify the results of the 2022 primary election based on a full and accurate count of every lawfully cast vote, which, as this Court has ordered, includes timely received absentee and mail-in ballots cast by qualified voters even if the voter failed to write a date on the declaration printed on the ballot’s return envelope.”