A Pennsylvania judge ruled on Thursday that the state cannot count late ballots, requiring voters to provide proof of identity to “ cure ” them within an arbitrary time limit set by the secretary of state.
After the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that postal ballots could be accepted three days after polling day, a separate issue in dispute, PA Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar submitted her own guidelines that proof of identity could be provided until November 12. days from the deadline for accepting the ballot.
The order is notably distinct from a challenge to the PA Supreme Court’s decision to allow late ballots and only invalidates those subject to the Boockvar extension to remedy a lack of identity between November 10 and 12.
“[T]The Court concluded that respondent Kathy Boockvar, in her official capacity as Secretary of the Commonwealth, did not have statutory authority to issue the November 1, 2020 guidelines to respondent county electoral boards to the extent that those guidelines were intended to modify the deadline … for some voters to verify proof of identity, ”Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt wrote in a court order.
“Accordingly, the Court ORDERS that the respondents’ County Election Council be prohibited from counting the ballots which have been separated in accordance with paragraph 1 of the Court’s Order dated November 5, 2020, granting a special injunction.”
It should be noted that with fewer than 10,000 ballots received after November 3, the number of “cured” ballots from November 10 to 12 that are now invalid is unlikely to be high.
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