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Appeals court makes major ruling on mail-in ballots ahead of 2024 presidential election

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Major ruling on mail-in ballots


A federal appeals court ruled that mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania without accurate handwritten dates on envelopes are invalid, overturning a previous decision.

Under state law


Under state law, mail-in voters must write the date on envelopes to make their vote effective.

Impact this year’s elections


The ruling will impact this year’s elections in the important swing state of Pennsylvania.

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania


“The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania unanimously held this ballot-casting rule is mandatory; thus, failure to comply renders a ballot invalid under Pennsylvania law,” Judge Thomas Ambro wrote.

Integrity issues


Republicans say the mail-in process raises integrity issues while Democrats argue it increases access and convenience.



Democrats are far more likely than Republicans to vote by mail in Pennsylvania.

Determining who may vote


The Materiality Provision “only applies when the State is determining who may vote,” Ambro wrote.

Victory for integrity


The RNC chair said the ruling is a victory for integrity, while civil rights groups argue it could disenfranchise thousands of eligible voters over trivial errors.

Crucial victory


“This is a crucial victory for election integrity and voter confidence in the Keystone State and nationwide,” Republican National Committee chair Michael Whatley stated.

Unlawful attempts


“Pennsylvanians deserve to feel confident in the security of their mail ballots, and this Third Circuit ruling roundly rejects unlawful left-wing attempts to count undated or incorrectly dated mail ballots.”

Lose their vote


“If this ruling stands, thousands of Pennsylvania voters could lose their vote over a meaningless paperwork error,” Pennsylvania ACLU executive director Mike Lee said.

Ballots in question


“The ballots in question in this case come from voters who are eligible and who met the submission deadline. In passing the Civil Rights Act, Congress put a guardrail in place to be sure that states don’t erect unnecessary barriers that disenfranchise voters. It’s unfortunate that the court failed to recognize that principle,” he said.

In 2022


In 2022, over 7,600 mailed ballots were rejected due to missing or incorrect envelope dates in 12 counties.

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