Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) asked the state’s Supreme Court to extend the deadline for mail-in votes to be counted after the U.S. Postal Service warned that some ballots may not make the Election Day deadline.
Voters in Pennsylvania can request a mail-in ballot for the November 3 election as late as October 27. In order to be counted, ballots must be received by Election Day, but a recent warning from the U.S. Postal Service has officials scrambling. According to a letter from Thomas J. Marshall, general counsel and executive vice president of the U.S. Postal Service, ballots requested close to the deadline may not return in time and could, therefore, be excluded from the official count.
There is “a risk that ballots requested near the deadline under state law will not be returned by mail in time to be counted under your laws as we understand them,” Marshall wrote in a July 29 letter — which was unveiled as part of a lawsuit to extend the counting deadline — to Pennsylvania State Secretary Kathy Boockvar (D):
USPS warns that mail-in ballots may not be delivered by the Election Day deadline.
— Hannah Bleau 🍓 (@hannahbleau_) August 14, 2020
Now, the Democrat governor’s administration is asking the state’s Supreme Court to intervene by extending the counting deadline beyond November 3 at 8 p.m., warning that current restrictions could disenfranchise voters. Instead, ballots postmarked by the original deadline should be counted if they are received within three days following the election. The administration also believes that even those that “lack a postmark or legible proof of mailing should also be counted,” according to ABC 6.
“To state it simply: voters who apply for mail-in ballots in the last week of the application period and return their complete ballot by mail will, through no fault of their own, likely be disenfranchised,” the administration’s Thursday filing read in part.
Skeptics continue to sound the alarm on the risk of mass universal mail-in voting, maintaining that it drastically increases the potential for fraud and error. The war over mass mail-in voting has also permeated the debate on the next phase of coronavirus relief, keeping Democrats and Republicans from striking a deal.
“They want $3.5 billion for something that’ll turn out to be fraudulent, that’s election money basically. They want $3.5 billion for the mail-in votes, okay, universal mail-in ballots, 3.5 trillion,” President Trump said during a Thursday interview with Fox Business Network’s Mornings with Maria.
“They want $25 billion, billion, for the Post Office. Now they need that money in order to have the Post Office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots. Now, in the meantime, they aren’t getting there,” he continued. “By the way, those are just two items.”
A recent New York Times analysis found that over three-quarters of Americans will be able to vote by mail for the upcoming election.
As Breitbart News reported:
In nine states, along with Washington D.C., registered voters will be mailed a ballot before the election. Voters in 33 states will be allowed to cast an absentee ballot with no excuse needed. In eight states, voters will be mailed an application to request an absentee ballot. In 25 states, voters are required to obtain an application for an absentee ballot themselves. In another eight states, voters will be required to have an excuse, other than coronavirus, to vote absentee.
Critics of mass mail-in voting point to the recent examples of stunning failures of the system, such as the 223,000 mail-in ballots sent to registered voters in Clark County, Nevada, which were deemed “undeliverable” ahead of the state’s primary election over the summer.
Last week, the New York Post reported that the New York City Board of Elections disqualified 84,208 vote-by-mail ballots, which comprised over a quarter of total votes cast, in the Democrat primary due to “arriving late, lacking a postmark or failing to include a voter’s signature, or other defects.”