HomeLatest NewsPennsylvania Court's Game-Changing Decision: Dates Now Required on Mail-In Ballot Envelopes

Pennsylvania Court’s Game-Changing Decision: Dates Now Required on Mail-In Ballot Envelopes

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A Pennsylvania federal court of appeals has ruled that mail-in votes that do not have accurate handwritten dates on the envelopes’ outside are invalid. This ruling will have an impact on the elections this year in the battleground state.

The U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, ruled 2-1 Wednesday overturning a November ruling by a lower court.

The lower court ruled that mail-in votes should still be counted even if they do not have the correct dates. The court ruled that minor paperwork errors were disenfranchising to voters and that they violated the Materiality Provision of U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1965 which prohibits the use of immaterial errors or errors in omissions as a way to prevent voting.

In the opinion of Wednesday’s federal appellate court, Judge Thomas Ambro stated that, under a law passed by the state legislature, mail-in ballots must include a date in their envelopes to be valid.

Ambro wrote: “The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania unanimously ruled that this rule for ballot casting is mandatory. Failure to comply makes a ballot ineligible under Pennsylvania law.”

Ambro wrote that the Materiality Provision only applies “when the state determines who can vote”.

According to a 2019 state law, Pennsylvania voters are required to “fill out the declaration printed on the envelope and date it” before returning their vote.

Some supporters of mail-in voting argue that it is more convenient and easier for seniors and people with disabilities. Some Republicans, however, say the process raises serious issues with election integrity, and former President Donald Trump has called the system “totally corrupt” and blamed it in part for his loss of the 2020 election.

In Pennsylvania, Democrats are more likely than Republicans to vote by postal ballot.

Michael Whatley, chair of the Republican National Committee, said in a press release that this was a “crucial victory” for the integrity of elections and the confidence of voters in Pennsylvania and across the country.

The Third Circuit’s ruling rejects illegal left-wing attempts at counting incorrectly or undated mail ballots.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania (ACLU), which represented groups and voters that challenged the date mandate in court, stated that the ruling would result in voters losing out.

Mike Lee, executive director of ACLU Pennsylvania, said that if this ruling is upheld, thousands of Pennsylvanian voters could lose their votes over a trivial paperwork error.

The ballots in question come from eligible voters who have met the deadline for submitting their ballots. Congress passed the Civil Rights Act to ensure that states do not erect barriers that prevent voters from exercising their right to vote. Unfortunately, the court didn’t recognize that principle.

According to a decision, in the midterm elections of 2022, over 7,600 mailed votes were thrown out because the outer envelopes either lacked dates or contained incorrect dates.

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