The Supreme Court on Monday declined to contain the judicial recast of Pennsylvania’s electoral law last year despite three votes against. What a missed opportunity to prevent future disasters. President Biden won with enough votes in enough states that this case would not change the outcome. But it could have reduced the likelihood of collapse next time.
“Changing the rules in the middle of a game is bad enough,” writes Justice Clarence Thomas his solo dissent. “Such rule changes by civil servants who may lack this are even worse.” The constitution gives state lawmakers the power to decide how elections are held, but courts and officials have ignored the black letter law for the past year.
Pennsylvania lawmakers clearly stated that the November 3rd postal vote was due at 8 p.m. But the state Supreme Court hinted at a vague guarantee of “free and equal” elections. decided that late arriving voices would be valid until November 6th even without proof of when they were sent. A total of 10,097 late voting papers appeared, 669 without legible postmarks. That’s enough to wreak havoc on a shortlist.
In Minnesota, a Democratic civil servant closed a progressive group lawsuit by agreeing to accept ballots in the mail one week after the legal deadline. Five days before November 3rd a federal court ordered Those ballots – 2,460 arrived and counted, plus 802 rejected because they were late – were kept separate in case they needed to be thrown. In other states the time limits have been extended and reset by various judges.
Voters may not know what instructions to follow. Both campaigns could declare victory What happened in a Senate race in Pennsylvania amid a dispute over undated ballots, Justice Thomas reported. “The decision to hide the electoral law under a shroud of doubt is confusing,” he writes.