November 29, 2022

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Mail-in Pennsylvania ballots with incorrect dates will be saved but not counted, court rules By Reuters

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© Reuters. An application for a mail in ballot is pictured in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, U.S. October 31, 2022. REUTERS/Hannah Beier

(Reuters) – Pennsylvania’s highest court on Tuesday ordered officials to disallow mail-in ballots with the wrong date marked on the envelope, potentially throwing out numerous votes in close races that could determine control of the U.S. Congress in elections next week.

The ruling is a win for Republicans, who filed the case and who have been fighting to eliminate ballots with incorrect information on them in an effort they say is meant to ensure election security. Democrats say the lawsuits are really efforts to disallow votes and could sway tight races.

In its short ruling, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court also said that it was evenly split on the question of whether throwing out ballots with incorrect dates or no dates marked on the envelopes in which they are mailed violates a federal law that makes it illegal to throw out ballots for trivial reasons.

For that reason, the court directed Pennsylvania county boards of elections to “segregate and preserve any ballots contained in undated or incorrectly dated outer envelopes,” the ruling said.

Such a move would ensure that the ballots were preserved in the event that a higher court overturns the ruling or finds that discarding such ballots would violate the federal law.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court said that opinions would follow.

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