PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Will Pennsylvania’s mail-in ballots be counted if they arrive after Election Day?
As of now, the U.S. Supreme Court says they can be counted in Pennsylvania. But the Supreme Court is reserving the right to take up the question after next Tuesday, setting up the possibility that the Supreme Court will decide who wins the state.
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Could this be a replay of the 2000 election when the Supreme Court decided who won the presidency? This year, it appears Pennsylvania is on track to becoming the next Florida.
Those of us who are old enough remember the days of the hanging chads, and Florida election workers physically examining paper ballots in the 2000 race between George Bush and Al Gore. In a controversial decision, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the presidency.
“The last thing anybody here in Pennsylvania wants to be known as is Florida in 2000,” said Allegheny County Elections Board member Sam DeMarco.
But if the race is close this year, the Supreme Court may decide the winner in Pennsylvania. At issue is whether postmarked ballots received up to three days after the election can be counted. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court said yes, but the U.S. Supreme Court could still decide to disallow them.
DeMarco hopes the Supreme Court will.
“There has to be some sort of deadline. And I support the Republican challenge to this and I hope the U.S. Supreme Court does something post-election and does something to address it,” DeMarco said.
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Three justices, including Samuel Alito, indicated that the Supreme Court should hear the case. In his opinion, Alito wrote that the Pennsylvania election will take place “under a cloud” and that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court erred in allowing the extension.
“That question has national importance, and there is a strong likelihood that the State Supreme Court decision violates the federal Constitution,” he said.
Anticipating a challenge, county election bureaus like Allegheny County will segregate and set aside all of those ballots until a decision is rendered. Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar says it’s unclear if those votes will ultimately count.
“They’ll be counted. The question is whether they’ll count toward the total depending on any future litigation,” she said.
At the Allegheny County vote processing warehouse, officials will be separating those ballots as they come in after Election Day, putting them aside until a decision is made.