Supreme Court Allows Three-Day Ballot Count Extension in Pennsylvania

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled election officials in Pennsylvania must accept mail-in ballots that arrive up to three days after the presidential election, according to NBC News. The ruling for the battleground state was a defeat for Republicans who insisted counting late ballots would further complicate the election.

By making this judgment, it overruled the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The eight-member U.S. Supreme Court, without Ruth Bader Ginsburg, tied 4-4 with Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh voting they would have granted a request by Republicans to put the lower court ruling on hold. Five votes are needed to grant a stay.

“Republicans have had every opportunity to get serious and work to empower Pennsylvania voters, but at every turn they have chosen the route of attempting to sow confusion, disenfranchise eligible voters, and silence the voices of Pennsylvanians,” Nancy Patton Mills, the chairwoman of Pennsylvania’s Democratic Party, said.

Republican state legislators are against the extension, saying it is an “invitation to voters to cast their ballots after election day.” Under the current state law, ballots have to arrive by 8 p.m. on Election Day to be counted. However, the Pennsylvania court said the state constitution’s free and equal elections clause required an accommodation due to mail delays caused by the pandemic. Voters would be disenfranchised if their ballots were stuck because of delays at USPS. Pennsylvania is expected to be one of the last states to report, according to The New York Times.