The Democratically dominated Pennsylvania Supreme Court sided with the state’s Democratically appointed top election official Friday, unanimously ruling Friday that county officials cannot invalidate absentee ballots because the signature on the envelope does not match the voter’s signature on his or her registration form.
The ruling comes more than a month after the same court ruled that ballots which arrive three days after the Nov. 3 election day must still be counted.
The decision by the court, which has five elected Democrats and two Republicans, was a victory for Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar, who interpreted Pennsylvania election law as not requiring the signatures match.
''For the reasons that follow, we conclude that the Election Code does not authorize or require county election boards to reject absentee or mail-in ballots during the canvassing process based on an analysis of a voter’s signature on the 'declaration' contained on the official ballot return envelope for the absentee or mail-in ballot,'' the court wrote.
''County boards of elections are prohibited from rejecting absentee or mail-in ballots based on signature comparison conducted by county election officials or employees, or as the result of third-party challenges based on signature analysis and comparisons.''
It was the second loss at the Pennsylvania high court by Republicans, who argued that by not having the signatures match invited fraud. The Republicans argued in the election deadline case that federal law requires a ballot be cast by Election Day. The U.S. Supreme Court voted 4-4 in the Republicans’ appeal, leaving the state court ruling in place.
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