Voting Rights Groups Join Pennsylvania Supreme Court Action to Protect Mail Ballots from Rejection on Unauthorized Grounds

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Common Cause Pennsylvania and other voting rights groups today filed an answer supporting Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar’s Kings Bench application to prevent mail ballots from being rejected solely on the basis of a perceived signature inconsistency.

Secretary Boockvar’s filing also asks the state Supreme Court to make it clear that representatives of political candidates and parties cannot challenge mail ballots on the basis of their own signature analysis.

“Nowhere in the Election Code is there the slightest suggestion—even implicit—that signature analysis should be used by the county boards of elections with respect to mail-in or absentee ballots,” the filing states.

Both issues have been raised by a lawsuit filed in federal court by the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee.

Read today’s answer here.


Statement of Suzanne Almeida, interim Executive Director of Common Cause Pennsylvania

Our government ‘by the people’ requires that every valid ballot be counted, and every voter’s voice be heard. 

Every state’s election procedures are different; here in Pennsylvania, election officials are not authorized to reject completed vote-by-mail or absentee ballots for lack of a matching signature. The process of voting by mail in Pennsylvania has a number of checks to ensure the integrity of the vote. Our law does not give elections officials the authority to reject ballots solely on the basis of perceived signature differences.

Today, we are asking the state Supreme Court to make that very clear because voters deserve clarity and confidence when it comes to voting. With so much at stake in this Election, it’s critical that voters and county elections officials understand and can clearly and consistently apply the rules. Voters should not have to worry that their mail ballot might be rejected — for a reason that’s not even authorized by our state’s law. 

We’re still in the middle of a pandemic, and the plaintiffs in the federal court case are trying to sow confusion and doubt in Pennsylvania’s voting process through continuing litigation. Voting by mail is safe, secure, and accessible and we are pleased to have the opportunity to advocate on this issue to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.  

The ACLU of Pennsylvania, the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, The Public Interest Law Center, The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, and the law firm Wilmer Hale are co-counsel representing several intervenors in the case, including Common Cause Pennsylvania, the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, the NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference, and three individual voters from Allegheny County.