Third Circuit, on 2-1 Vote, Rejects Argument that It Violates the Materiality Provision of the Civil Rights Act to Not Count Timely But Undated Absentee Ballots in Pennsylvania

You can find the majority opinion and the dissent at this link.

The majority holds that the provision applies only to the question of who is eligible to vote, not whether an eligible voters’ votes are counted.

The court remanded for a consideration of an equal protection challenge, but that will be a tough claim to make.

This issue can really matter in a close statewide election. As the dissenting judge noted, “More than one million Pennsylvania voters mailed in their ballots in the November 2022 election. Of them, 10,000 timely-received ballots were not counted because they did not comply with the State law requirement that the voters’ declarations (‘the declarations”) on the mailing envelopes include a date below the voter’s signature [Citation], even though the date on the envelope is not used to (1) evaluate a voter’s statutory qualifications to vote, (2) determine the ballot’s timeliness, or (3) confirm that the voter did not die before Election Day or to otherwise detect fraud.”

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