GOP Appealing New Supreme Court To Limit Voting-By-Mail

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Following a recent court defeat in Pennsylvania over voting rights and election access, Republicans are planning to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to recent court filings. This appeal would be coming after the recent death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which left the court with eight Justices in total, five of whom lean conservative and three of whom lean liberal. Republicans may be hoping to exploit the new ideological alignment on the court for their own partisan advantages. They’re fighting against a planned extension of the Pennsylvania deadline for receiving mail-in ballots, which is meant to compensate for recent slowdowns at the Postal Service.

In the case that the GOP is planning to appeal to the Supreme Court, a top court in Pennsylvania recently ruled that the deadline for receiving mail-in ballots could be extended to the third day after Election Day, although mail-in ballots still have to be postmarked by Election Day itself. The ruling included the specific provision that ballots would be required to have a postmark proving that they were dropped off by Election Day, and, if they didn’t have the postmark but arrived within the three-day period, then they would be assumed to have been mailed by Election Day unless a “preponderance of the evidence” indicated otherwise.

Republicans claim that extending the deadline for receiving mail-in ballots could open the door to fraudulent ballots that were mailed after Election Day getting included in final counts. It’s unclear what if any evidence that they may have for this claim. The seemingly imaginary fraudulent scheme that Republicans are sounding an alarm about would entail somehow managing to get a presumably significant number of ballots in the mail after Election Day without a postmark and then delivered to election authorities within a three-day period, amidst national slowdowns in mail service.

On Monday night, the Republican Party of Pennsylvania asked the state’s top court to pause the implementation of its ruling, which they explained was meant to provide them an opportunity to appeal to the Supreme Court.

They said:

‘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 Republican Party of Pennsylvania respectfully asks the court for a partial stay of its judgment, pending disposition of (our) forthcoming stay application and petition for writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court.’

It’s unclear if or when the Supreme Court might actually take up Pennsylvania Republicans’ case for consideration. It’s also unclear when precisely that Trump’s planned replacement for Ginsburg might be confirmed, although Senate Republicans have made clear that they’re in a hurry.

Trump, on his own time, has pushed many conspiracy theories about the upcoming election. He has claimed that a widespread usage of mail-in ballots will irreparably damage the legitimacy of the election results, but there’s no evidence for this claim. He’s even claimed that foreign countries could submit fraudulent ballots to be tabulated among legitimate mail-in ballots. There’s no evidence for this claim either.