Pennsylvania Republicans are appealing the state Supreme Court’s ruling that would allow mail-in ballots be counted up to three days after election day, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to void the order in its first case without liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The Republican Party of Pennsylvania is contesting the state Supreme Court’s decision issued Friday that ballots received by 5 p.m. on Nov. 6 – even without postage or postmark – “will be presumed to have been mailed by Election Day,” unless there is “a preponderance of the evidence demonstrates that it was mailed after Election Day.”
“The Court’s judgment … creates a serious likelihood that Pennsylvania’s imminent general election will be tainted by votes that were illegally cast or mailed after Election Day,” the appeal says.
The argument is one made by countless Republicans that the increase of universal mail-in balloting likewise increases the likelihood of voter fraud.
One of the Republicans’ primary arguments is that the U.S. Constitution gives the authority to the state legislatures to establish the states that “[t]he Times, Places, and Manner of holding Elections.”
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court claims it had the power to extend the deadline, which normally is the end of the day on election day, because Pennsylvania’s Election Code gives courts the “authority to provide relief when there is a natural disaster or emergency.”
It cited the outbreak of the novel coronavirus as that emergency.
However, the Republicans counter that state's legislature adjusted laws for the state primaries in light of the coronavirus outbreak but did not alter deadlines for general election.
Republicans also have filed a request with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to stay its ruling while it appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Ginsburg’s death has left the court with three noted liberals, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. Four notable conservative justices: Sam Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas, are sometimes joined by Chief Justice John Roberts.
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