Fetterman is demanding that mail-in ballots be counted, even if they are not signed with a valid date


Washington
CNN

The campaign of Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman has gone to federal court to try to count mail-in ballots from Pennsylvania voters if they were not signed with a valid date.

The question of whether mail-in ballots with incorrect or missing dates can be counted is one of the state’s most pressing issues ahead of Election Day, and a divided Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently ordered counties not to count missing or invalid mail-in ballots. dates on their outer envelopes.

But Fetterman and the voters who have joined his campaign hope the federal court overrules the state court’s decision.

“The Date Instruction imposes unnecessary hurdles that eligible Pennsylvanians must clear to exercise their most basic rights, resulting in the arbitrary dismissal of otherwise valid ballots without benefit to the Commonwealth,” Fetterman and attorneys for the Democrats wrote in the new lawsuit filed Monday. U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

“The date on the mail-in ballot envelope therefore has no bearing on the voter’s qualifications and serves no other purpose than to obstruct the exercise of the fundamental constitutional right to vote. This unnecessary impediment violates the Civil Rights Act and the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the US Constitution,” they wrote. .

Republicans have advocated stricter rules on mail-in ballots that would force ballots with missing information to be discarded.

The Fetterman campaign is joined in its lawsuit by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

“As we face this latest Republican assault on democratic rights in America, Pennsylvanians should check their voting status to make sure their vote counts. We are committed to using every tool at our disposal to protect Pennsylvanians’ constitutional right to participate in this election, including the GOP defeat in court,” the groups said in a joint statement.

Fetterman’s race against Republican candidate Mehmet Oz is one of the Senate races.

Republicans see holding on to retired Sen. Pat Toomey’s seat as key to their hopes for a Senate majority, while Democrats see flipping seats in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, both states carried in 2020 by now-President Joe Biden, as the best. way to protect against losses elsewhere.

Earlier Monday, a judge in northeastern Pennsylvania’s Monroe County ruled that election officials could notify hundreds of voters there of mail-in ballots with errors to give them a chance to correct them.

Judge Arthur Zulick noted that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court had not yet said whether the missing ballots had to be thrown out entirely or could be addressed by Election Day.

The local Republican Party sued to prevent voter turnout. The case was one of the latest skirmishes at the local level in Pennsylvania to interpret how to handle defective mail-in ballots.

Voters in the county who sent their ballots without a sealed envelope, outside signature or date will still be able to vote. When they are informed that the vote can be cancelled, they will be given the opportunity to correct their vote before 8:00 PM on the day of the election.

Zulick noted that the Republicans who filed the lawsuit said in a hearing that they had no problem correcting defective ballots if voters turned in their ballots in person, “from the beginning.”

“It’s the only difference here [Monroe County elections office] emailed or called voters to report errors in the ballots,” the judge wrote. “I don’t think there was any fraud or political bias. [Monroe County elections] employees or the Board.”