Pennsylvania Counties Refuse to Count Undated Mail-in Ballots; State Sues

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Pennsylvania state is suing officials from three counties to force their local governments to count undated mail-in ballots from a recent primary election.

The Pennsylvania Department of State (DOS) and Acting Secretary Leigh Chapman filed a lawsuit on July 12 against the boards of elections of three counties in the commonwealth—Lancaster, Berks, and Fayette—to seek a court injunction forcing the counties to count undated mail-in ballots cast in Pennsylvania’s 2022 primary elections.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, said in the filing that election officials in the three Republican-controlled counties refused to count absentee and mail-in ballots that were “lawfully cast by qualified voters,” but lack a date on the return envelope.

“This Court should order the three county boards that are delaying resolution of the 2022 primary election to send to the Acting Secretary certifications reflecting all lawfully cast ballots,” the plaintiffs wrote.

In a July 12 statement, the Lancaster County Board of Elections wrote that the plaintiffs’ demand “is contrary to the law or any existing court order.”

“To be absolutely clear, the Lancaster County Board of Elections properly certified the 2022 primary election results in accordance with the PA Election Code at 25 P.S. 2642(k) and any court order regarding undated mail-in ballots and submitted that certification to the Department of State on June 6, 2022,” the statement reads.

“The County received confirmation of receipt from the DOS on June 7, 2022. The Commonwealth’s demand is contrary to the law or any existing court order. The County will vigorously defend its position to follow the law to ensure the integrity of elections in Lancaster County.”

Pennsylvania state law requires ballots that are received on time and cast by a qualified voter but are missing a handwritten date on the envelope to be rejected.

By Gary Bai

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