Just days away from the 2020 general election the United States Supreme Court with Chief Justice John Roberts at the helm made a decision that would allow the state of Pennsylvania to accept mail-in ballots up to three days after the election is supposed to be over.
This comes as not only the high court is in turmoil, with only eight justices currently, but the nation is awaiting the outcome of a close presidential election where both candidates have insinuated (or outright accused) the other of attempting to steal the election.
According to The Hill, the court was split between conservatives and liberals in a 4-3 divide when Roberts leaned to the left:
“The court’s four more conservative justices — Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh — would have halted a lower court ruling from taking effect, strongly suggesting that Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the three liberal justices to form a 4-4 tie that left in place the lower court’s decision,” The Hill stated.
The Washington Post included in their report that not only did the court rule to allow the election drag on in the crucial swing state but they also ruled against allowing more poll watchers to be supervising the voting process.
“The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in Democrats’ favor last month on a number of mail-voting rules: permitting voters to turn in ballots via dropbox in addition to using the U.S. Postal Service; allowing ballots to be returned up to three days after Election Day, and blocking a Republican effort to allow partisan poll watchers to be stationed in counties where they do not live.”
“The state court said such ballots must be counted if they are postmarked by Nov. 3 — and even if no postmark is discernible ‘unless a preponderance of the evidence’ shows that the ballots were mailed after Election Day.”
Republicans have attempted to step in and request a change, however, in a move that came just after the ruling was handed down, however, imploring the court to take another look at some of the details in the case. According to The Daily Wire, the State Senate Republican Caucus filed a legal brief to obtain an emergency stay from the U.S. Supreme Court.
In the stay filed by the Pennsylvania GOP, they stated that “In a year where there is a very real possibility that the final presidential election result hinges on Pennsylvania, the new rules imposed by the decision of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania (a body elected in partisan elections) could destroy the American public’s confidence in the electoral system as a whole.”
The request went on to say that, “This Court should adhere to the rule it set forth earlier this year. Like the district court in Republican National Committee, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has created a strong likelihood that ballots cast or mailed ‘after the scheduled election day’ will count in the upcoming general election in which millions of Pennsylvanians will cast their votes for President and U.S. Representative.”
According to the state’s GOP, “This is not a mere hypothetical concern. In the April 2020 Wisconsin primary, ‘many ballots arrived with no postmarks, two postmarks or unclear postmarks.’ And a ballot mailed as late as November 5, 2020, in Pennsylvania has “more than [a] 98%” chance of being delivered by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s judicial received-by deadline of November 6, 2020. Thus, just as in Republican National Committee, this Court should stay that order insofar as it “fundamentally alters the nature of the election” by mandating a non-postmarked ballots presumption that allows counting of ballots cast or mailed after Election Day.”