Report: Federal appeals court rejects GOP effort to block late-arriving ballots

    (Image via The Philadelphia Gay News)

    A federal appellate court in Philadelphia has rejected an effort by a Republican congressional candidate to keep the state from counting 9,300 mail-in ballots that arrived after Election Day, according to a published report.

    A 3-judge panel, led by Chief U.S. Circuit Judge Brooks Smith noted the “unprecedented challenges” facing voters this election season, notably, the “vast disruption” brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Associated Press reported Friday.

    The appellate panel’s ruling stems from a state Supreme Court case, filed by former GOP 8th Congressional District candidate Jim Bognet. The state’s high court ruled that counties could accept mail-in ballots that arrived by Friday, Nov. 6 — three days after Election Day.

    Bognet, a former Trump White House aide, brought the case to U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh, before the case landed before the Philadelphia-based 3rd Circuit appeals court. Bognet lost on Election Day to veteran U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-8th District.

    In the panel’s opinion, Smith wrote that the panel ruled with “with commitment to a proposition indisputable in our democratic process: that the lawfully cast vote of every citizen must count,” the Associated Press reported.

    Pennsylvania Republicans are separately pursuing the issue before the U.S. Supreme Court.

    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