The Supreme Court deadlocked Monday, declining to block a Pennsylvania rule that allows mail-in ballots to be counted up to three days after Election Day whether or not they are postmarked by Election Day.
The 4-4 ruling upholds the state Supreme Court’s decision that allows election officials to receive and count ballots even if they do not have a postmark by Nov. 6. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf asked the court to extend the mail-in deadline, citing an increase in mail-in voting and USPS delivery times.
Republicans opposed the extension arguing the state’s Supreme Court rule violated federal law that sets Election Day as the first Tuesday of November. They also argued a decision to extend the deadline belongs to the lawmakers, according to NBC.
The state Supreme Court disagreed, ruling Sept. 17 to extend the deadline for ballots to be counted as valid through Nov. 6. The court said ballots that “lack a postmark or other proof of mailing, or for which the postmark or other proof of mailing is illegible” will be “presumed to have been mailed by Election Day” unless proven otherwise. (RELATED: Nearly 29,000 Pennsylvania Voters Reportedly Receive The Wrong Mail-In Ballots)
Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh voted against the extended deadline, but Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the three liberal justices to create the tie.
Marc Elias, a Democratic election lawyer called the development a win in a tweet Monday night.
????????????BREAKING: U.S., Supreme Court DENIES Republican effort to block Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s voting decision.
GREAT NEWS for voting rights and voters in Pennsylvania! pic.twitter.com/VC6QuiTMr3
— Marc E. Elias (@marceelias) October 19, 2020
President Donald Trump won Pennsylvania by roughly 44,000 votes.