With concerns rising in Pennsylvania that tens of thousands of mail-in ballots will be discarded in the presidential election over technicalities, officials in the battleground state told counties that they cannot reject a ballot solely because an election official believes a signature doesn’t match the signature in the voter’s file.
The new guidance from Pennsylvania’s Department of State prompted the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania and the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh to drop a lawsuit in federal court Monday.
The groups had sought to ensure that voters have the chance to fix ballots that are either missing signatures or flagged for a perceived signature mismatch.
“As a result of this case, Pennsylvania voters can cast their vote without fear that their ballot could be rejected solely because an election official — who isn’t trained in handwriting analysis — thinks their signatures don’t match,” said Mark Gaber, a Campaign Legal Center lawyer who represented the groups in court.
But, with seven weeks until the Nov. 3 election in the presidential battleground state, a partisan stalemate in Pennsylvania’s Capitol is holding up legislation to fix glitches and gray areas in the state’s mail-in voting law.
Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, and the Legislature’s Republican majorities are clashing over how to prevent vast numbers of ballots from being discarded because of technicalities and how to head off the specter of a presidential election result hanging in limbo on a drawn-out vote count and legal fight in Pennsylvania.
The stalemate over legislation prompted Wolf, at a press conference on Tuesday in York, to press lawmakers anew to act on changes he is seeking.