PA Judge Dismisses Latest GOP Mail Ballot Lawsuit – NBC10 Philadelphia
What you should know
- A Pennsylvania judge is dismissing a lawsuit filed by the Republican National Committee that sought to prevent counties from helping voters ensure their ballots are counted by fixing minor technical errors on postal ballot envelopes.
- Judge Ellen Ceisler wrote Thursday that district courts, not a state court, have jurisdiction.
- Republicans had argued that state law prevented and should ban so-called “ballot curing.”
A Pennsylvania judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Republican National Committee that sought to prevent counties from helping voters ensure their ballots are counted by correcting minor technical defects in mail-in ballot envelopes.
The judge said that district courts, not a state court, have jurisdiction.
The lawsuit, filed in the nationwide Commonwealth Court, had argued that state law prohibits so-called “ballot curing” and should therefore be barred from the court.
But Commonwealth Court Judge Ellen Ceisler agreed with the state’s Democratic Administration attorneys, ruling that the county courts have jurisdiction over the matter, not a state court, because the counties have authority under state law, rules, regulations and direction to enact what is required for the conduct of an election.
Ballot couriers were primarily practiced by Democratic districts in Pennsylvania. It includes notifying voters that they forgot to do things like the date or signing their ballot envelope, and gives them a chance to come to a county office and fix it before polling stations close.
State attorneys also argued that no state law prohibits election healing. Lawyers from factions of the Democratic Party that have intervened in the case called it a “win for voters.”
The lawsuit is one of many filed by Republicans over the past three years to stop vote-by-mail in Pennsylvania, or at least reject mail-in ballots.
Postal voting skews heavily toward Democrats in the president’s battleground state. That reflects Republican resentment seeded by former President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated claims that mail-in voting is a vehicle for Democrats to steal the election.
Republicans filed this latest lawsuit in September, two months before Pennsylvanians elected Democrats to the governor’s office and US Senate.
Republicans made similar arguments in lawsuits filed before and after the 2020 presidential election.
In one such case, Trump’s campaign sued counties — all pro-Democratic counties — for their practice of ballot healing. The federal judge, a Trump-appointed judge, dismissed their claims and told Trump’s attorneys to sue counties that failed to help voters heal ballots.