The Lead

Pa. Supreme Court hands Trump another setback, rules ballots can be counted even if voter didn’t completely fill out the envelope, report

By: - November 23, 2020 5:36 pm

The Pennsylvania Judicial Center in Harrisburg (Capital-Star file)

Mail-in ballots cast in Pennsylvania’s presidential election can be counted even if a voter didn’t completely fill out the envelope, the state Supreme Court ruled Monday, dealing President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign another legals setback, according to a published report.

The high court’s ruling “knocked down multiple lawsuits that the Trump campaign had been pursuing as part of its efforts to overturn the outcome of Pennsylvania’s presidential election,” CNBC reported Monday.

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These cases were aimed at the Board of Elections in Philadelphia County, the most populous area in Pennsylvania and one that overwhelmingly voted for Biden over Trump.

The campaign’s lawsuits were focused on the fewer than 9,000 absentee and mail-in ballots that the county elections board decided to count despite possible errors on the outer envelopes. The campaign had argued that these errors, which included failing to handwrite a proper name, date or street address on the outside of the ballot-return envelope, were disqualifying. But the Supreme Court disagreed.

The court also noted that the campaign was not arguing that there was any evidence of fraud associated with these ballots.

The court’s ruling comes just days after Trump’s reelection campaign was dealt a stinging rebuke by a federal court judge in Williamsport, who rejected an attempt to block the certification of the Pennsylvania vote. On Monday, county governments around the state voted to certify the results of the Nov. 3 election, putting President-elect Joe Biden on course to the White House. Trump’s campaign has appealed that decision.

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John L. Micek
John L. Micek

A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press.

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