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Leftists Lament Court Ordered Dates on Mail-in Ballots in PA

The ruling is seen as a win for the GOP.

By order of the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, all mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania must have dated envelopes to be counted. Though not widely reported, the 2-1 ruling is a significant win for Republicans. This decision overturned a district judge’s previous ruling, causing great consternation on the left — including the ACLU and other Democratic Party proxies. Their central argument appears to be that something as trivial as a missing date should not send ballots to the trash heap.

A Civil Right to Be Wrong?

Ari Savitzky, a lawyer for the ACLU, argued that failing to correctly date mail-in ballots amounts to a “meaningless paperwork error” and that it shouldn’t result in votes being discarded. According to Savitzky, refusing to count them runs afoul of the materiality provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. “An immaterial mistake on a piece of paperwork doesn’t go to the deficiency or validity of the ballot itself,” he told the three-judge panel when the Third Circuit heard oral arguments on Tuesday, March 19.

US District Judge Susan Paradise Baxter agreed with this argument back in November. However, two of the three judges on the circuit court panel did not. “The Pennsylvania General Assembly has decided that mail-in voters must date the declaration on the return envelope of their ballot to make their vote effective,” Judge Thomas Ambro wrote in the majority opinion. “The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania unanimously upheld this ballot-casting rule is mandatory; thus failure to comply renders a ballot invalid under Pennsylvania law.” The Civil Rights Act of 1964’s materiality provision, argued Judge Ambro, does not pertain to ballot-casting rules broadly but “is concerned only with the process of determining a voter’s eligibility to cast a ballot.”

Why Care About Erroneous Ballots?

Why is it that Democrats and left-leaning groups like the ACLU so adamantly reject rules that require secure ballots while Republicans and right-leaning groups believe it is a benefit to the US election process to make sure a ballot is genuine?  Is it because, as the left proposes, Republicans want to act as gatekeepers, making it harder to vote? The truth of the matter is that anyone who has the right to vote can do so, so long as they take the time to figure out how.

New banner Perpective 1Is it difficult to date an envelope? Is it difficult to show up – or show some identification? It’s entirely acceptable to demand smokers, drinkers, and gun owners show up in person with photo ID – and, for that matter, meet a minimum age requirement – so why are such restrictions a violation of civil rights when it comes to voting? Tobacco might kill the smoker after many years. Alcohol could do the same – or, in the case of a drunk driving accident, perhaps kill or injure someone else, as well. A firearm used illegally and irresponsibly could kill several – perhaps even dozens, in rare cases. Tragedies, all of them – but the effects of a poorly decided vote can haunt the entire nation for decades, if not longer. Is it so wrong, then, to expect voters to be at least competent and informed enough to ensure their ballots comply with a few very simple rules?

A Blow to Democracy – or Just to Democrats?

While the idea that anyone who can’t figure out how to date an envelope shouldn’t be entrusted with the nation’s future certainly has its merits, there is, perhaps, a more telling question one can ask: Why are Democrats so adamant about reducing the requirements for voting?

In 2016, Donald Trump won Pennsylvania by a narrow margin of 0.72%. In 2020, he lost the state to Joe Biden by 1.17%. Due to the way Pennsylvania election officials count in-person ballots first, however, Trump started with a wide lead over Biden on election night. It was only after the mail-in ballots were counted that the state flipped – demonstrating how significant this method of voting has become. In 2016, just 266,208 votes (or about 4% of the total 6,223,150) were cast by mail, according to the Pennsylvania Secretary of State’s Office. In 2020, however, 2,704,147 (about 39%) of ballots were mailed.

As Liberty Nation reported in 2020, a shocking number of people over the age of 95 – more than 10,000 – requested mail-in ballots online in Pennsylvania that year. Of those, more than 1,500 were allegedly over 100 – and some seemed to be as old as 166! LN posed the reasonable question: “How can this be, and what are the possible explanations for this bizarre data set?” The possible answers all seemed to fit into three scenarios:

  1. There is something in the Pennsylvania water that promotes longevity, digital skills, and widespread political interest among incredibly old people.
  2. The data entry personnel in Pennsylvania are dangerously unskilled.
  3. One or more persons are fraudulently requesting ballots to which they are not entitled.

The ACLU and Democratic Party mouthpieces decry the Third Circuit’s ruling as a blow to democracy. But when there is a pattern of objecting to any measures that would enhance the integrity of elections – and that pattern has been clear for all to see over the past six or seven years, at least – one cannot help but wonder how much the party truly values the democratic process.

Read More From James Fite

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