Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman’s campaign has filed a lawsuit in Pennsylvania, one day before the midterm elections, demanding elections officials count undated or improperly dated mail-in ballots for every race in the state.
The lawsuit against Pennsylvania’s 67 county boards of elections was filed on Monday and comes nearly one week after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that all absentee and mail-in ballots received in undated or incorrectly dated envelopes should not be counted.
Ballot instructions tell Pennsylvania voters, who vote by mail, to “fill out, date and sign the declaration” on the envelope.
“The date imposes unnecessary hurdles that eligible Pennsylvanians must clear to exercise their most fundamental right, resulting in otherwise valid votes being arbitrarily rejected without any reciprocal benefit to the Commonwealth,” the campaign’s lawsuit reads, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Fetterman is currently locked in a tight battle with Republican candidate and celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz with the outcome of the race having the potential to tip the balance of power in the U.S. Senate.
Fetterman’s campaign filed Monday’s lawsuit with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
“As we fight this latest Republican attack on Americans’ democratic rights, Pennsylvanians should check their ballot status to ensure their vote is counted,” the groups said in a joint statement. “We are committed to using every tool at our disposal to protect Pennsylvanians’ constitutional right to participate in this election, including defeating the GOP in court.”
On Monday, a judge in Pennsylvania’s Monroe County ruled that election officials could notify the few hundred voters, whose mail-in ballots were submitted with errors, to give them the opportunity to make corrections. The county’s Republican Party sued, arguing any corrections on defective ballots must be submitted “in person.”
In last week’s two-page ruling requiring mail-in ballots with missing or incorrect dates be tossed, the six-judge panel said it was split on whether failing to count the ballots violated the Civil Rights Act. Three Democratic judges said they would find it in violation of federal law, while two Republican judges were joined by a fourth Democrat in finding no violation with the move.
In the lawsuit, Fetterman’s campaign estimates thousands of ballots will be left uncounted for what they called the “technicality” of a wrong or missing date.
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