State Senator Proposes Repealing Pennsylvania Ballot Date Requirement

Pennsylvania Democrats remain opposed to discarding undated absentee ballots, despite a Supreme Court decision suggesting that the ballots should not count. 

Shortly after Governor Tom Wolf (D) and acting Secretary of State Leigh Chapman (D) indicated they will continue to instruct counties to count mail-in ballots that come in envelopes on which voters did not write a date, state Senator Jim Brewster (D-Monroeville) proposed legislation to end the date requirement entirely. 

“Despite the millions of dollars wasted on lawyers and litigation in the wake of the 2020 election, no one has offered a viable reason why these ballots must be dated by the voter in order to be counted or why the postmark is insufficient evidence of timeliness,” the senator wrote in a memorandum on his bill. “My legislation will simply remove this unnecessary requirement, avoid confusion and require that ballots be returned or mailed to the appropriate board of elections on or before 8 p.m. on Election Day.”

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated a decision by the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals resolving a dispute about whether such ballots should be counted.

Contention surrounded undated ballots in numerous recent elections in the Keystone State, including the 2020 presidential race, the long-litigated 2021 race for Lehigh County judge, the primary between eventual GOP Senate nominee Mehmet Oz and Brewster’s own razor-thin 2020 victory against Republican challenger Nicole Ziccarelli. 

“My own 2020 election was marred by petitions to the state and federal courts intended to wipe out the will of hundreds of voters,” Brewster wrote. “The implications of the resulting court battle were dire, threatening to hold up state certification of the election which could have affected the presidential race and opened the door for more misinformation and meddling.”

Pennsylvania Democrats’ continued insistence on counting undated ballots in the face of a federal court ruling against doing so drew reprehension from conservatives.

“If you want to shore up people’s faith in the electoral system, this would not be the way to do this,” Daily Wire Editor Emeritus Ben Shapiro said on his podcast.

In the court battles that Republicans have fought to keep discounting the undated ballots, attorneys argued that dating the ballots is useful in terms of establishing when the voter cast the ballot and therefore, in cases when a voter moved out of his or her district, whether he or she lived in the district on that date. 

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Bradley Vasoli is managing editor of The Pennsylvania Daily Star. Follow Brad on Twitter at @BVasoli. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “State Sen Jim Brewster” by State Sen Jim Brewster.


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