The Republican National Committee (RNC), along with the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, is intervening in Republican Senate candidate David McCormick's lawsuit challenging the state's mail-in voting laws.
With his opponent, cardiac surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz, ahead by a sliver of a percent, McCormick asked the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania to force every Pennsylvania county to accept undated mail-in ballots received on time, The Federalist reports.
"The RNC has an interest in assuring that elections involving Republican candidates are conducted in accordance with the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and as affirmed by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania," the application to intervene read.
According to The Federalist, Pennsylvania law requires that mail-in and absentee ballots have a handwritten signature and date on the voter's declaration portion of the return envelope.
Undated or unsigned ballots cannot be counted, as per the law.
Citing a decision from the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which was handed down two days after Pennsylvania's primary election began, McCormick asked the court to compel the Keystone State's counties to accept mail-in ballots lacking the mandatory elements.
In the decision, a three-judge panel ruled in favor of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Democrats who sought to have disputed ballots counted in a Lehigh County election last year, despite state law mandating otherwise.
More than a week after the polls closed, the Senate Republican primary race has yet to be called. According to The Federalist, Oz was leading McCormick by 0.1% as of Wednesday morning.
According to the RNC, the 3rd Circuit ruling has strong implications for the future of election integrity and the state's ability to deliver accurate election results quickly.
Future Pennsylvania elections could potentially be compromised if the unlawful ballots are allowed to be counted, the RNC said in its application.
"Were these validly enacted laws to be cast aside — and the recent decisions of this Court and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court turned on their head — the current competitive electoral environment in Pennsylvania, in which the Republican Committees invest substantial resources in support of Republican candidates to try to win elections, would be altered or impaired," the application states.
On Twitter, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel confirmed the reason for the intervention, saying that although both GOP candidates in Pennsylvania "would be fantastic Senators," the RNC is committed to ensuring election integrity.
"Pennsylvania law is clear: Undated absentee ballots may not be counted," McDaniel wrote. "Changing the rules while votes are being counted undermines the integrity of our elections and sets a terrible precedent for future elections."
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