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U.S. Supreme court rejects Republican bid to limit mail-in voting in Pennsylvania

22 Comments
By Lawrence Hurley

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday allowed an extension of the deadline for mail-in absentee ballots in Pennsylvania for the Nov 3 elections, declining a Republican request to block a lower court's ruling that gave voters more time.

The justices, divided 4-4, left in place a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling in favor of state Democrats that had extended the deadline for state election officials to receive mail-in ballots postmarked by the evening of Election Day until three days later.

The brief court order noted that four of the court's five conservative justices would have granted the request. There are currently only eight justices on the usually nine-member court following the death last month of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which left the court with a 5-3 conservative majority.

Chief Justice John Roberts joined the three liberal justices in denying the request, with five votes needed for it to be granted.

The decision highlights the impact that President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, could have as a potential deciding vote in election-related cases if -- as expected -- she is confirmed by the Republican-led Senate next week. In her confirmation hearing last week, Barrett did not commit to stepping aside in any election cases involving Trump.

"With nearly a million votes already cast in Pennsylvania, we support the court’s decision not to meddle in our already-working system," Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, said in a statement.

The state Republican Party and Republican officials in Pennsylvania separately had appealed the state Supreme Court ruling as they sought to tighten deadlines for mail-in ballots.

Pennsylvania is an election battleground state in the presidential election. Trump won Pennsylvania in 2016 but is trailing Democratic opponent Joe Biden in opinion polls this year.

In a Sept 17 ruling, the state high court ruled in favor of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party and various Democratic officials and candidates who had asked for the court to protect voting rights during the coronavirus pandemic, which has prompted an increase in requests for mail-in ballots.

The Democrats also raised concerns about whether the U.S. Postal Service, led by a Trump ally, would be able to handle the surge of ballots in a timely manner.

Democrat Kathy Boockvar, Pennsylvania's secretary of state, backed a three-day extension.

Without court intervention, the previous mail-in ballot system, introduced last year, would "unquestionably fail under the strain of COVID-19 and the 2020 presidential election, resulting in the disenfranchisement of voters," the state court concluded.

Trump has attacked the integrity of mail-in voting, a regular part of American elections that is being used even more this year because of the pandemic. Trump has made unsubstantiated claims that mail-in ballots are especially vulnerable to fraud and suggested without evidence that their widespread use would lead to a "rigged election."

© Thomson Reuters 2020.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

22 Comments

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The President doesn't want you to vote if he fears you won't vote for him, voter suppression is in full effect. The land of the freeeeeee!

6 ( +8 / -2 )

a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling in favor of state Democrats that had extended the deadline for state election officials to receive mail-in ballots postmarked by the evening of Election Day until three days later.

This is ridiculous. The election is Nov. 3, not days or weeks later. Mail-in ballots should be mailed at least a week before the election so they are counted by election day.

voter suppression is in full effect

No, but there are many cases of mail-in voter fraud. Look it up. It's even on Google.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

There is no definitive proof of voter fraud, just Trumps hot air. He is making more moves to suppress votes and the evidence is clearer on that. It is not something new to the US, he is using the political tools the establishment has created and voter suppression is one.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Seems to me like international monitors are needed for your tin pot election now.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Yeah there is no proof of voter fraud in an election that hasnt happened yet.

That is what we are trying to prevent, voter fraud from being able to happen.

Such as in a case where ballots can be received and counted after election day when one side or the other can know exactly how many ballots they need to "win" and then make those ballots appear.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

@Blacklabel

Where do you stand on Trump’s claim that 3 million voted illegally in 2016?

6 ( +8 / -2 )

The President doesn't want you to vote if he fears you won't vote for him, voter suppression is in full effect. The land of the freeeeeee!

Great, gives the Dems more time to harvest votes and throw others away.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Lovin' it!

Thank you Chief Justice John Roberts!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

likely true. but not necessary to prove, just clean up the voter rolls and strengthen the validation process for any voting not done in person.

Which is complicated (purposely) by all this "universal mail in balloting" that allows ballots to be received and counted after election day. plus all of the ballots in the trash, abused by postal employees, multiple ballots for the same people, moved people, deceased people etc. It will be a total mess, without a doubt.

Where do you stand on Trump’s claim that 3 million voted illegally in 2016?

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

That is what we are trying to prevent, voter fraud from being able to happen.

I love it. You're trying to make laws to prevent a crime that hasn't happened from happening. Sounds just like Minority Report, have you seen it?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

thats correct. Like preventing murder from happening before it happens, not after.

can you prevent murder after the fact?

neither can you prevent fraud after the fact. you have to take measures before it happens.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

thats correct. Like preventing murder from happening before it happens, not after.

Lolz how does one do that? Youre getting into thought police level here, for a problem that doesn't actually exist.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Then how do you explain ballots to dead people, ballots to people that have moved, multiple ballots to the same name.

How do you explain ballots in the trash, ballots mishandled/thrown away by postal employees, ballots misprinted with wrong candidate names, ballot harvesting, fraudulent requests for multiple ballots for the same person or on behalf of dead people, ballots already rejected in the hundreds of thousands?

Do all these things that have happened not indicate the possibility of fraud? or are you happy enough that because some of these were caught that all of them were caught and its all good?

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

And the Republicans go on trying to restrict voting, cause they know they don't represent the people.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

now a ballot box appears to have been intentionally set on fire. Nah, there is nothing wrong with this election process, nothing at all. Nothing to see here.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/oct/19/la-drop-box-fire-ballots-damaged-suspected-arson-attack

The fire required firefighters to spray water into the box to extinguish the flames, likely causing significant damage. Video from the scene showed dozens of wet and burnt ballots.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

BlacklabelToday  02:33 pm JST

now a ballot box appears to have been intentionally set on fire. Nah, there is nothing wrong with this election process, nothing at all. Nothing to see here.

I suppose you think Democrats were behind that. Why would they bother, in California.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

U.S. Supreme court rejects Republican bid to limit mail-in voting in Pennsylvania

Why this misleading headline? The bid was to limit the change in rules that makes it possible to count votes WITHOUT A DATE STAMP, opening the gates to unlimited cheating.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

a little question for Americans. Over 200000 deaths from SARS-CoV-2 so far. Thousands every day.

Q. What happens if you make an early vote, but pass away before the election date. Is your vote still counted even if you are dead?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This is ridiculous. The election is Nov. 3, not days or weeks later. Mail-in ballots should be mailed at least a week before the election so they are counted by election day.

Would you have the same feelings if it was for taxes?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

neither can you prevent fraud after the fact. you have to take measures before it happens.

You can prevent the effects of the fraud by throwing out the fraudulent ballots, but it’s probably better just to suppress large swaths if democratic votes instead.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Why this misleading headline? The bid was to limit the change in rules that makes it possible to count votes WITHOUT A DATE STAMP, opening the gates to unlimited cheating.

I wonder why this wasn’t mentioned in the article.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Q. What happens if you make an early vote, but pass away before the election date. Is your vote still counted even if you are dead?

Yes.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

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