The Trump campaign’s attempts to derail the Biden election in Pennsylvania were dealt a blow today when a court ruled that just because a voter forgot to write the date on the outside of a mail in ballot envelope, doesn’t mean the vote should be invalidated. The decision made the point that “that election laws should be construed liberally in favor of voters, and that “technicalities should not be used to make the right of the voter insecure.”
The full decision on the matter follows:
Petitioner alleges that these ballots were cast in violation of the Election Code because they do not contain a date penned by the elector on the outer envelope.
The Court agrees with the Board that the Section 3150.16(a) date provision is directory not mandatory. Specifically, the use of the word “shall” does not make a statutory phrase mandatory. It is well settled Pennsylvania law that election laws should be construed liberally in favor of voters, and that “technicalities should not be used to make the right of the voter insecure.” Pennsylvania Democratic “Ballots containing mere minor irregularities should only be stricken for compelling reasons.”
The ballots at issue here are sufficient even without a voter supplied date. They were processed in the Statewide Uniform Registry of Electors (“SURE”) system and timestamped when they were timely delivered to the Board on or before November 3, 2020. They were signed and have been otherwise properly completed by a qualified elector. In light of the fact that there is no fraud, a technical omission on an envelope should not render a ballot invalid. The lack of a written date on an otherwise qualified ballot is a minor technical defect that does not render it deficient. The Court finds that the Board properly overruled Petitioner’s objections to the 2,349 challenged mail-in ballots. These ballots must be counted. The Petition for Review is denied and the Board’s decision is affirmed.