Court ruling could overturn the Pennsylvania Senate race

A less-watched federal court case could overturn the Republican primary between Dr. Mehmet Oz and David McCormick in Pennsylvania.

Hundreds of postal ballots submitted by election managers undated on mailing envelopes during the November 2021 county judge elections by three judges from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday afternoon. I decided that I should count. Otherwise it was received on time.

It was not immediately clear how the scope of the Circuit Court’s ruling would expand, as no formal opinion from the panel had yet been issued. However, it can have a serious impact on the Senate race. Oz and McCormick had a difference of about 1,100 votes as of Friday afternoon, and the ruling could introduce ballots in similar positions that would not have been initially counted into the pool. There is sex.

A State Department spokesperson told POLITICO that it was not immediately clear that the number of ballots received in a timely manner by the county election authorities was rejected due to the lack of dates. “We will investigate the counties to get the numbers and issue guidance to support them,” said Ellen Lyon, a spokesman for the agency, hoping to get that information early next week. bottom.

But as an example, Nick Custódio, Deputy Commissioner of the City of Philadelphia, said there were 2,100 mails and absentee votes received dateless in Philadelphia as of Friday afternoon. About 100 of them were Republican ballots.

However, he said the number would increase slightly as authorities have not yet completed the processing of ballots.

Lyon said the department was “satisfied” with the federal court’s interpretation of the legislation. This is likely to indicate that future guidance will instruct the county to count ballots without dates. But without that guidance or full opinion from the courts, it is not immediately clear how state-wide local election authorities will handle similar ballots in Tuesday’s primary.

The ruling does not affect ballots that arrive after the deadline for voting on Tuesday. They will remain uncounted.

However, Democratic election lawyer Adam Bonin, who was involved in the case, said he personally believes the order should affect the county’s voting method in Tuesday’s primary.

“Look, you have a federal Court of Appeals arbitrating on the unmistakable condition that date requirements are not important,” he said, and the county has voters their date of birth or future. I counted the ballots with the date as the date.

“This is what the State Department said: it just has to have a date on it,” he continued. “And when all ballots are received by the county, they are time stamped and go to work. Therefore, you can see that they arrived on time …. Therefore, do the voters handwrite the date? It doesn’t matter at all, and I’m glad this court acknowledged it. “

Custódio said Philadelphia city officials will vote next week on whether to count ballots without dates.

Philadelphia’s Commissioner of Baseball, Lisa Dee Lee, called the order a “great victory” for voters.

“The number of ballots without dates is horrifying,” she said. “And even if that number is 5, there are still too many 5. Voters have done everything. They filled out the application. They got the ballot. They got the ballot. I know I got it back in time … So it always seemed like an unnecessary step, and I’m glad that the federal court agreed. “

A federal court ruling said Pennsylvania law, which requires ballots to be dated, is “not important” under federal law. That is, it doesn’t matter if the ballot is accepted or rejected.

Federal law denies voting rights in any election if such errors or omissions are not significant due to errors or omissions in records or documents related to the application, registration, or other conduct required for voting. Should not be done. ” In deciding whether such an individual is eligible to vote for such an election under state law. “

The issue of dateless ballots in Pennsylvania has been ping-pong in court in recent years. Immediately after the 2020 general election, the State Supreme Court decided on ballots that did not include the date, but were otherwise received within the deadline. Need to count — But decisively 4th and final vote The path states that “date and signature requirements” are mandatory for future elections, and “it is sufficient to omit either item without invalidating the ballot in question.”

“We are pleased that the votes are still being counted,” said a McCormick campaign official.

The Oz campaign did not comment on this story.

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