Supreme Court Allows PA To Count Undated Mail-In Ballots, Could Have Huge Implications For Future Elections


As the nation gears up for the November midterm elections, many states are tightening up their election laws in hopes of preventing a repeat of 2020.

But a recent Supreme Court ruling may actually hinder some of those efforts at maintaining election integrity. On Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled that in Pennsylvania, election officials are allowed to count undated mail-in ballots.

The date on the envelope is required by state law.

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Could Effect All Elections Going Forward

In this case, the ballots in question are in relation to a disputed 2021 judicial election, not the very recent, very close Senate Republican primary race. But the debate over the handling and legality of undated mail-in ballots will have far-reaching implications, especially in November.

The Court majority did not give any reasoning behind their decision.

Dissent on the decision came from Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Neil Gorsuch.

Alito stated in the dissent:

“When a mail-in ballot is not counted because it was not filled out correctly, the voter is not denied the right to vote. Rather, that individual’s vote is not counted because he or she did not follow the rules for casting a ballot. Casting a vote, whether by following the directions for using a voting machine or completing a paper ballot, requires compliance with certain rules.” 

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Two States, Two Outcomes

Recently, Georgia and Pennsylvania each held primaries. Last year, there was signifiant election law overhaul in Georgia. So much so that President Joe Biden himself described it as “Jim Crow in the 21st Century.” There was no such election law reform in Pennsylvania.

Thanks to the new election law, Georgia’s primary elections went smoothly, and Georgians knew the results in a timely manner. In Pennsylvania, it took weeks before the winner was known. 

Will there be a case of “here we go again” in Pennsylvania on election night? Time will tell.

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