Supreme Court could still overturn Pennsylvania mail-in ballot deadline extension after election
The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to fast track an appeal by Pennsylvania Republicans who oppose a three-day extension of the deadline for mail ballots to be received by election authorities -- but the case could still be decided after Election Day, Justice Samuel Alito wrote in a statement conceding 'there is simply not enough time' to issue a pre-election decision.
, Justice Samuel Alito wrote in a statement conceding "there is simply not enough time" to issue a pre-election decision.The court's refusal to issue a fast-track decision does not mean it won't rule in the case. The petition asking for the court's review remains before the justices.
Therefore, the move sets up a scenario where the U.S. Supreme Court could step in to overturn the ballot extension, which was issued by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in a ruling that essentially changed state election law, and void votes after they have been counted in a state that has the potential to decide the presidential election.
"It would be highly desirable to issue a ruling on the constitutionality of the State Supreme Court’s decision before the election," Alito said in a statement issued along with the Supreme Court's decision not to grant expedited review in the case Republican Party of Pennsylvania v. Boockvar. "That question has national importance, and there is a strong likelihood that the State Supreme Court decision violates the Federal Constitution."
But, Alito said, there's isn't time "at this late date to decide the question before the election." He was joined in his statement by Justices Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas. In this March 7, 2019, file photo, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito testifies before House Appropriations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. Alito Wednesday said it is "likely" a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision extending the deadline for election authorities to receive ballots is unconstitutional. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
SCOTUS WON'T FAST-TRACK APPEAL OVER BLOCKING EXTENDED DEADLINE FOR PA MAIL-IN BALLOTSAlito added: "Although the Court denies the motion to expedite, the petition for certiorari remains before us, and if it is granted, the case can then be decided under a shortened schedule."
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat who supports the ballot deadline extension, said it is good that voters "will not have the rules changed on them on the eve of the election." But he acknowledged, "We know this fight may not be over and we are prepared."
Shapiro added that to ensure their ballots are received before Election Day, voters with mail ballots should use drop boxes or bring their ballots to county election offices, rather than putting them in the mail. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania Republican Party Chairman Lawrence Tabas lauded Alito for his statement "which reinforces our assertion that the U.S. Constitution gives state legislatures, not state courts, authority to govern federal elections," and therefore it's "likely" the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's decision is unconstitutional.
Tabas also noted a decision by the state Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar to segregate ballots received after Election Day but before the end of the three-day deadline extension. According to the guidance issued by Boockvar, published byCBS 21in Harrisburg, county elections boards "shall not pre-canvass or canvass" ballots received during the extended deadline between 8 p.m. Tuesday and 5 p.m. Friday.
It's unclear whether Wednesday's ruling would cause Boockvar to change the guidance not to count the ballots received during the extended deadline period. But nevertheless with the ballots segregated those votes could be discounted if the U.S. Supreme Court rules the deadline extension unconstitutional.
Ballots received during the extended deadline time period still must be sent on or before Election Day. Read more: Fox News »
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why would they - America is supposed to be a democracy? Why would you refuse to count timely mailed votes after Trump tried to hobble USPS?
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