Pennsylvania’s highest court has ruled that mail-in ballots marked with the wrong date will not be counted, days before the US goes for mid-term elections on November 8.
The ruling comes as a big win for the Republicans who have been fighting to eliminate ballots with incorrect information on them and had filed a case for the same.
The issue of misinformation on the in-mail ballots gained momentum after a surge in the 2020 election caused by the pandemic.
Republicans believed postal voting benefitted the Democrats, however, there has no been no official data to confirm the fear.
The BBC reported that about 70 percent of the 1.4 million requests for mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania this year come from Democrats, compared to 20 percent from Republicans.
After the previous election, then-President Donald Trump condemned mail-in ballots as a “big scam” and baselessly claimed that millions of ballots were sent from abroad as part of a “rigged” election.
The former President narrowly won Pennsylvania in 2016 before losing by a slim margin in 2020, prompting some Republicans to claim the election was stolen because of ballot irregularities.
The six members of Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court said that they were evenly split on whether or not discarding ballots marked with incorrect dates violated the federal Civil Rights Act, which makes it illegal to throw out ballots for minor reasons.
It said that state election officials should “segregate and preserve” any ballots that were mailed in undated or incorrectly dated envelopes in case there was a further legal challenge.
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The latter race could ultimately determine which party controls the Senate.
Pennsylvania electoral officials have warned that it could take several days for the votes to be counted and certified. Legal challenges over mail-in ballots could delay the process further.
Mail-in ballots have also been the focus of lawsuits in a number of other states including Delaware, Wisconsin, Arizona and Illinois.