Voter integrity groups and Republicans are crying foul after the Democrat-controlled Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that counties cannot reject ballots in which signatures do not match the registration form. The signatures rule had been in place for over five decades and is similar to ballot integrity laws in most other states.
The verdict Friday was a victory for Democrats including the state’s top election official Kathy Boockvar. She had sued counties aiming to change the rules just weeks before the election and an expected flood of mail-in and absentee ballots. Republican officials say her actions encourage fraud at the last minute.
“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,” the justices wrote.
In her court filing, Boockvar had said that any such rejections pose “a grave risk of disenfranchisement on an arbitrary and wholly subjective basis,” and without any opportunity for a voter to verify their signature before their ballot is disqualified.
Democrat Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro called this “another win for voters.”
“Voters who use a mail-in ballot have their identity verified in the initial application, often using a drivers’ license number. Pennsylvania’s voter identification system is safe and secure. We are protecting every eligible vote and ensuring each is counted. Make your plan to vote and we will keep doing our work to make sure your voice is heard,” Shapiro said in a statement.
The decision comes amid a surge in mail-in voting and rising concerns that tens of thousands of mail-in ballots will be discarded in the presidential election over a variety of technicalities. In recent months, Democrat officials across the nation have sued in court, or arbitrarily changed voting laws that ensured transparency and fought fraud in the voting process.
–Metro Voice an wire services