The Lead

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

By: - November 13, 2020 12:57 pm

(Image AdobeStock 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.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.