Federal Judge Allows Counting Dateless Pennsylvania Mail-In Ballots

By Robyn Spradlin

by Danielle Dolin

A federal judge has ruled that mail-in ballots from Pennsylvania without dates or bearing incorrect dates should be considered valid and counted, as long as they reach the county elections office by the designated deadline.

The case was initiated by advocacy groups and voters whose votes were left uncounted due to inaccurately dated or undated ballots. Court records indicate that around 7,600 mail-in ballots in 12 Pennsylvania counties were disqualified for this reason.

According to The Washington Times, U.S. District Judge Susan Baxter, appointed by former President Trump, determined that rejecting these ballots would infringe on civil rights. Judge Baxter asserted that the county’s timestamp served as the validation indicator, not the handwritten date or its absence, emphasizing that the voter’s handwritten date was immaterial and unnecessary.

“The date indicated by the voter on the outer return envelope does not determine whether a mail ballot is timely and, therefore, counted. Instead, it is determined by the timestamp,” stated the judge.

Judge Baxter clarified that while requirements are necessary for ballots determining a voter’s age, citizenship, residency, or felony conviction, in elections, “Federal law prohibits a state from erecting immaterial roadblocks, such as this, to voting.”

Civil rights groups celebrated the judge’s ruling, framing it as a victory against “voter disenfranchisement because of a trivial mistake in handwriting an irrelevant date on the outer return envelope.”

Mail-in ballots have been a longstanding practice in Pennsylvania, with new provisions implemented in 2019 to make absentee balloting available for all registered voters.

Robyn Spradlin is a freelance journalist working as a contributor for Christian News Journal covering news and politics on the national and state levels. She has worked as a copywriter for Victory News on the Victory Channel since 2022. Robyn has an BA in Communication Studies and MA in Journalism from Regent University and is a member of the Evangelical Press Association. She is an author, evangelistic minister and a musician.

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