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Pennsylvania Supreme Court – Absentee and mail-in ballots don’t need matching signatures (or valid postmarks)

Pennsylvania Supreme Court – Absentee and mail-in ballots don’t need matching signatures (or valid postmarks)

And they can be counted if received three days after election day. What possibly could go wrong if the race margin is razor thin?

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If there is any swing state that worries me about election shenanigans, it’s Pennsylvania.

I remember election night 2016, when the networks were refusing to call Pennsylvania for Trump into the early morning hours. The vote was close. I was just waiting for someone to “find” a precinct in Philadephia that somehow had not been counted, or some other miraculous Clinton votes. It never happened, and Trump won with the newtorks finally calling it.

Pennsylvania Democrats worry me. A lot.

So it’s very discomforting that absentee and mail-in ballot protections are being thrown away by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. In a case we previously covered, John Roberts Joined Liberals To Permit PA To Count Non-Postmarked Ballots 3-Days After Election Day:

Roberts joined the three liberals to reject a stay (in two cases, hereand here) of a Pennsylvania Supreme Court Order that permits mail-in ballots to be counted if received three days after Election Day — even if the envelope has no postmark. That’s right, even if there is no postmark. Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh would have granted the stay….

Because the Supreme Court split 4-4, the PA Supreme Court order stands.

Today the PA Supreme Court ruled that county clerks could not reject absentee and mail-in ballots where the voter signatures didn’t match. Politico reports:

The Pennsylvania state Supreme Court ruled Friday that ballots in the state cannot be rejected because of signature comparisons, backing up guidance issued by the state’s chief elections officer heading into Pennsylvania’s first presidential election with no-excuse mail voting.

“We conclude that the Election Code does not authorize or require county election boards to reject absentee or mail-in ballots during the canvassing process based on an analysis of a voter’s signature,” the state Supreme Court wrote in an opinion signed by six of the seven justices, including five Democrats and one Republican.

The seventh justice, another Republican, concurred with the ruling.

The court directs “the county boards of elections not to reject absentee or mail-in ballots for counting, computing, and tallying based on signature comparisons conducted by county election officials or employees, or as the result of third party challenges based on such comparisons.”

From the Opinion:

For the reasons that follow, we conclude that the Election Code does not authorize or require county election boards to reject absentee or mail-in ballots during the canvassing process based on an analysis of a voter’s signature on the “declaration” 4 contained on the official ballot return envelope for the absentee or mail-in ballot. We, therefore, grant the Secretary’s petition for declarative relief, and direct the county boards of elections not to reject absentee or mail-in ballots for counting, computing, and tallying based on signature comparisons conducted by county election officials or employees, or as the result of third party challenges based on such comparisons

So in Pennsylvania, mail-in ballots don’t need a valid postmark or signature. And they can be counted if received three days after election day.

What possibly could go wrong if the race margin is razor thin?

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Comments

Only three days? Roberts will be willing to extend it to three weeks if needed. Or three months.

Whatever it takes to put the Communists in power Roberts is willing to do.

Seems like the litigation is not done, and could even return to the Supreme Court. Has this ever been challenged on Equal Protection grounds as voter nullification?

To count a late ballot without a postmark seems on its face to cancel out one’s exercise of an actual, timely vote, whether by mail or in person.

The signature issue, too. A rule to that forces acceptance of blatant discrepancies is arbitrary and unreasonably cancels valid votes.

Better to deny an uncertain vote than to nullify a certain vote.

Hopefully all this will be re-visited.

Just be glad they were not seated during the debate on the creation of the US Constitution. The integrity of the voting system is tossed… no checks and balances… just good thoughts and expected shock at any underhanded activities. It is better to have 10 illegal ballots counted than deprive a single voter of their right to vote..even if they didn’t take the time to vote properly.

Since it does not matter if signatures are forged this election, how difficult are postmarks to forge too?

Well on Monday we are supposed to have a 9 member SCOTUS. The d pushing the ‘don’t disqualify no match signature ballot’ may have been too clever.

The litigation could be appealed to SCOTUS which will have 9 members and simultaneously ask a rehearing on the 4/4 decision last week.

Maybe. Just maybe the CT will do the right thing. There is a very good 5th Circuit appeals decision that lays out the path forward for election cases. Don’t recall the cite, dropped last week or so.

This should terrify people. This is naked preparation for vote fraud. These people are so desperate, that they are not even attempting to hide their efforts. If they do not care about appearances before the vote, then what are they willing to do to 1) guarantee their desired outcome, or 2) attempt to achieve that outcome, should the opposing outcome prevail. Should we be concerned that a political class, which does not hesitate to use violence to achieve its ends, before an election, would not do the same, or worse, if they lose the election?

    DaveGinOly in reply to Mac45. | October 24, 2020 at 12:27 am

    Can you imagine a scenario in which Trump wins and the Dems declare he must have cheated to win, so Dems in Congress offer to work in a bipartisan effort with Republicans to secure the electoral process against cheating and voter fraud in the future?

    Neither can I.

The Senates votes for ACB Monday, installed Monday afternoon…

Judges
Not Hillary, now Biden
Everything else is gravy (yuge foreign policy wins)

Elections matter

Didn’t this already go to the Supreme Court and they let it stand 4-4? If not, Republicans need to get this back after ACB is confirmed. The absurdity of not having to verify signatures or ID. I early voted and had to show ID. No reason we shouldn’t have to.

    If state law didn’t require signature verification or postmarks, what exactly is the court supposed to do? I would say they should look at the intent of the law but this is Pennsylvania.

Thing is, I think the Dems squandered their organizing mojo on plague lockdowns and riots and social-media censorship, and don’t have any headspace left for election fraud.

I can just see it: “Okay, we’ve got it all set up to facilitate manufacturing votes in these states we need Biden to win. Where’s our Fraud Ops team?”

“He’s on a beer run, said he should be back by eight.”

“THE POLLS CLOSE AT SEVEN!!!!”

Well…
I am worried.
We could lose this thing.
Biden may be pure evil, but nobody hears of it.

Trump has done so much, but nobody hears of it.
And it is so thin…

I have to consider that most avarage people do not pay much attention to anything other that what comes across the television.

And back in the Obama elections, I thought it could never happen.
But it did. Twice.

My faith is worn quite thin.

ACB is on the way. That means that 4-4 becomes 5-4. Roberts, just might join the majority to be 6–3, given is weak personality. No Chief Justice in my memory has engaged in the level of Judicial sophistry on the scale of Roberts. The man uses procedural arguments such as standing to decide great issues of law.

Kennedy was weak, and Roberts joined with the he majority so he could oversee writing of the opinions. ACB is not Kennedy. She will be de-facto Chief Justice. Hopefully if Trump wins Roberts will gracefully retire and. ACB cab formally assume the leadership role that Roberts moral weakness is going to give her starting Tuesday.

    So I would wish.
    But Roberts is dedicated.

    Edward in reply to dystopia. | October 23, 2020 at 10:56 pm

    Oh, I don’t know – I think that Earl Warren deserves that nomination, at least within my memory. A Governor of California, he was one of the worst Republican picks for the SCOTUS ever!

      Liberty Bell in reply to Edward. | October 24, 2020 at 8:41 am

      Good point. To me, Warren was a Souter. Always a liberal. Roberts is a chameleon; strategically voting with the losing side in 5-4 decisions and allowing Kennedy to switch. Warren had principles. Just the wrong ones. Roberts using technicalities of the lasw (it’s a tax not a mandate) rather than face issues head-on with courage.

      lichau in reply to Edward. | October 24, 2020 at 10:42 am

      Didn’t Ike count Warren as one of his big mistakes?

Wasn’t it in Pennsylvania that there were a number of counties which had over 100% turnout during Obama’s selection? I know there were a few states that had similar, but I seem to recall PA as one of the states which had a few voting districts which were extremely high turnout and overwhelming numbers breaking for Obama.

None of this should shock us. It’s what the left does, and seems to get away with frequently.

Well, then there’s nothing to stop the Republicans from “finding” a few thousand votes in counties they control – except honesty.

    Edward in reply to txvet2. | October 23, 2020 at 10:58 pm

    Yeah, there’s always that honesty thing holding us back. Thankfully, else we’d sink down to their gutter level.

Eastwood Ravine | October 23, 2020 at 9:56 pm

The solution is not to release a vote count in any national election, House, Senate, or President, in Pennsylvania until 3 days after the election. The way the Dems don’t know what vote margin they need to overcome by “finding” votes.

    Close The Fed in reply to Eastwood Ravine. | October 24, 2020 at 5:29 am

    Yeah, but you know the dem election officials would tell their dem allies what the numbers are. Only the honest would be left in the dark.

Get the printing presses going and forge a few thousand per precinct for Trump.
I’d laugh at their facial expressions if as happened in Minnesota for their resigned pervert, all of a sudden someone found a trunkload of votes for PDJT.

Get the lawsuits ready.

So typical. They just wanted to be the first jackasses to put a new case up and see what the new SCOTUS girl thinks about it.

There is little doubt about what little dick will do. Could be fun to see how the CJ waltz’ things around.

In the interim, Pennsylvania ballots should be dismissed, irrespective of their more-or-less-could’a-should’a been ballots.

The Biden case should already be before a grand jury. Indict that SOB and his debased, pitiful son. Sheesh, even the Kennedys would have done a better job of managing little Fredo. Haha, nah, just kidding. They are already up to Joke IV, even after trashing Papa’s trashable campaign coffers.

Even Citgo wants nothing from Joke III.

    Close The Fed in reply to NotKennedy. | October 24, 2020 at 5:31 am

    Hunter Biden has a problem whose origin we know not.

    I’d rather not pile on Hunter Biden.

    His Dad shouldn’t have encouraged or permitted it.

      Right. “Your Honor, my client robbed the liquor store and shot the clerk, but he has a problem and he split the money with his sickly old daddy, so we shouldn’t pile on.”

So, Penn. absentee ballots do not need valid signatures, nor do they require postmarks, and have to be accepted for days after the election ends.

Do the ballots need actual voters? Sheesh.

My state, idiotic in so many respects, does mail-in voting right.

The ballots make it clear that they must be received by 8 pm on election day. Post marks do not count. They make it clear that the last day to drop the ballots in the mail is seven days before the election, and they urge earlier mailing. They list the available drop boxes, where they must be deposited by 8 pm. The Secretary of State’s office explicitly warns against people collecting your ballot for you.

The voter envelope, which contains a secrecy envelope, states:

“Warning: Signing another person’s name on this envelope is a Class C Felony.

“By signing, I hereby certify that:
I am a United States Citizen
I am the person to whom it is issued;
I am legally qualified to vote this ballot;
This is the only ballot I have voted this election.”

Honestly, how hard is that?

    It isn’t hard as long as the voter rolls are purged of all deceased, moved, pets, etc. And as long as the Socialist/Communist Party maintains control of the state. Let that control suffer severe degradation and watch the shenanigans with the mail-in ballots begin. The statement is great, but who is the watchdog policing the voting? Is there sufficient personnel hours available to dedicate to vote fraud if mass ballot fraud were to happen?

    Personally I prefer in person voting. If a person can’t get his/her posterior off the couch to vote, they shouldn’t vote for they really don’t care what happens in the election. Certainly not enough to bother to go vote. With Early Voting (not necessarily a fan, but it does help some people get to a polling place), there is ample opportunity to vote which didn’t exist when I turned 21 a long time ago.

    I would favor making Election Day a National Holiday with even essential personnel mandated to have time off to vote. Then limit Absentee Voting to only those who are ill, out of the country, etc. and make damned sure those overseas ballots are mailed in time to be completed, mailed, delivered and counted. No more screwing with the military ballots to ensure their votes don’t make it to be counted.

      Oregon Mike in reply to Edward. | October 24, 2020 at 12:13 am

      You’re right on all of that. I, too prefer in-person voting. I’d be happy to walk away from the polling place with a purple index finger.

      You asked: “Who is policing the voting?” In Oregon, ordinary citizens are. Disputed ballots are reviewed by a representative of each of the major parties, who must agree on resolving the dispute. (Those who open the ballot envelopes scan the envelope’s bar code, which brings up a computer image of the voter’s signature on his/her registration card. The worker is trained in forensic signature analysis.)

      A number of years ago, my wife and I signed up to be election observers, and spent a couple of afternoons watching the procedure in our county. We came away impressed with the seriousness with which the county clerk’s workers, and the volunteers, approached their tasks.

      Hell, back in the day, Lyndon Johnson stuffed ballot boxes. Long before mail-in ballots.

      The Friendly Grizzly in reply to Edward. | October 24, 2020 at 6:09 am

      Edward: I will add to that. Getting out and registering to vote at the county offices, or through a deputised registrar. Photo ID? The ones with tribal chieftains “Reverends” complaining about how racist it is, should use those church buses to get their flock down to the government office that issues free IDs.

      In short, there are no excuses for no doing one’s civic duty. You miss out because you “forgot” after you moved? Tough.

    DaveGinOly in reply to Oregon Mike. | October 24, 2020 at 12:33 am

    Wow that sounds like voter suppression to me! I mean all the people who are confused about it, never mind those who are offended. All those rules. It’s very discouraging!

Alrighty, then, what is to stop the Reps from playing the exact same fraudulent game the Dems WILL play? Not a thing.

I can’t see any reason this should be allowed except to facilitate voting fraud.
Nothing will happen of course but the Constitution as Levin read it judges have 0 say in this matter and the Pa legislature should swat them away like bugs.

All voters registered before election day.
Vote in person with an ID on election day.
All ballots issued are witnessed by interested parties.
All ballots are marked by those to whom they were issued.
All ballot marking witnessed by interested parties.
All ballots submitted for counting by those who marked them.
All ballots submitted for counting witnessed by interested parties.

Voting requires an effort.
Voting deserves the effort.

Lucifer Morningstar | October 24, 2020 at 8:20 am

That’s fine. If PA wants to play that game then Republicans should challenge every ballot that is submitted by mail and force PA election officials to prove that each and every ballot is valid under the laws that govern mail in ballots and challenged ballots. The law is the law and the courts cannot unilaterally change the law. That is the purview of the state legislature. Not the courts.

We have become a Banana Republic. Sad.

I spent half my career in quality assurance and inspection. The subject of “signature matching” raises all sorts of questions for me from the standpoint of having certified inspectors trained in a well-documented quality inspection plan and acceptance criteria.

Are we talking an operation where the vote counting doppelganger of the DMV lady loudly declares “NO MATCH FOR YOU” and shreds all ballots where the match isn’t exact, or is it a looser standard of reasonable resemblance?

Frankly, I don’t know what the vote validator/counters have on file for a signature for me, because it’s been years and depending on mood and what I’m signing, my signature changes, from first last, first MI last, first MI last, suffix, FI, MI, last, or just initials … my WA state ballot has a signature requirement on the envelope that transmits the ballot, below which I can (optionally) write my phone number which they’re supposed to call IF there are any acceptance issues with my signature (an irregularity) wherein I (supposedly) have the chance to correct/validate my ballot for acceptance.

I suspect if “signature validation” were ever struck down, it would have to do with not having documented, demonstrable and repeatable acceptance criteria and trained inspector/validators. The proof of the pudding of course would be to submit a sample set to a group of inspectors and whether they all deliver the same accept/reject results.

How about no signature at all?

I don’t have a problem with early voting – in fact, I take advantage of it to avoid the long lines. But then down here we have actual controls on the process. Mail-in voting is another whole kettle of fish and should never have been permitted except for absentee voting with strict controls and only in exceptional cases where a valid and verifiable reason can be presented.

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