Federal judge: Mail-in ballots missing handwritten date must still be counted

A federal judge ruled in favor of voting rights advocates on the issue of mail-in voting.

This article originally appeared in TribLive on November 21, 2023 and was written by Paula Reed Ward.  

Mail-in ballots submitted on time but missing a handwritten date must be counted by county elections offices, a federal judge said on Tuesday.

To do otherwise would violate the federal Civil Rights Act, said U.S. District Judge Susan Paradise Baxter. Her decision followed a lawsuit filed last year against all 67 county boards of elections in Pennsylvania.

The 77-page opinion was hailed by voting rights groups as a victory less than a year before the 2024 presidential election.

The lawsuit was filed Nov. 4, 2022, by the Pennsylvania State Conference of the NAACP, Black Political Empowerment Project, Common Cause Pennsylvania, League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, Make The Road Pennsylvania, and POWER Interfaith.

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