Someone ought to make sure that the Pennsylvania Republican Party understands the concept of a postmark. Republicans including top legislators in the state are appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court in an ongoing fight over mail-in voting in the state. Republicans want to restrict the time period in which mail-in ballots can be received by election authorities and still be counted rather than disqualified. If more Democratic voters cast their ballots via the mail rather than in-person, than Pennsylvania Republicans’ plans could entail an arbitrary hurdle to Democratic voters.
Pennsylvania election authorities have sought to extend the deadline for receiving mail-in ballots to the third day after Election Day, in order to compensate for recent slowdowns in mail service, and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently approved this extension. Republicans allege that the extension illegally muddles the election process and provides an opportunity for the inclusion of fraudulent ballots in final counts, although authorities will be checking postmarks to ensure that ballots were mailed before Election Day if they arrive within the three days after the election. If the ballots have no postmark, then authorities will use other means at their disposal in order to attempt to determine the date of mailing.
Pennsylvania Republicans want the Supreme Court to pause the ruling from the top Pennsylvania court while they formulate their formal appeal in the case. The Republicans allege:
‘In the middle of an ongoing election, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has altered the rules of the election and extended the 2020 General Election beyond the ‘Time’ established by the state legislature. In doing so, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has violated federal law and the federal Constitution.’
It is definitely unclear that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has actually violated any sort of law with their decision. They didn’t pull it out of thin air — slowdowns in mail service across the country have been well-documented, driving a national outcry over potential impacts on mail-in voting, which seems likely to be used at especially sharp levels thanks to potential dangers of the Coronavirus at in-person polling stations.
Currently, the U.S. Supreme Court has only eight members in the wake of the recent death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. There’s a 5-3 split in favor of the conservatives on the court, and Trump has already announced his nominee to replace Ginsburg: Judge Amy Coney Barrett, an ardent conservative.