SCOTUS judge orders Penn. to segregate ballots that arrived after election day in GOP win
On Friday, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, who is responsible for the Pennsylvania region, issued a temporary order that requires Pennsylvania elections officials to segregate ballots received after 8 p.m. on Election Day. The Republicans wanted the vote counting to be stopped but that did not happen here. But the order does grant a GOP request to place the ballots in a secure, sealed container and have them counted separately, if at all.
An emergency order was requested from the Supreme Court by the Pennsylvania GOP after they could not get at least 25 of the county boards to confirm they were already segregating ballots and Alito agreed. It was not clear if the counties in Pennsylvania were already doing this. However, Alito would not address another request for an emergency order to stop those ballots from being counted.
It is unknown how many late-arriving ballots were not segregated or if there are enough of these ballots to change the course of the election. And it isn’t known what happened to the envelopes the ballots came in, which would be evidence in this legal matter.
Alito is one of the most conservative justices on the Supreme Court and is an originalist. He stated that the court had not previously been informed on state guidance handed down to counties on Oct. 28 about what to do with ballots received between the 8 p.m. Nov. 3 deadline and Friday, Nov. 6.
There is still a petition on the merits of the case pending before the Supreme Court. It could overturn the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and void votes after they have been cast. Pennsylvania is one of a handful of battleground states that will determine a very close 2020 presidential election.
Alito has ordered the opposing side to file a response by 2 p.m. Saturday.
Alito order: "… neither the applicant (PA GOP) nor the Secretary has been able to verify that all boards are complying with the Secretary's guidance, which, it is alleged, is not legally binding on them."
— Shannon Bream (@ShannonBream) November 7, 2020
In a filing to the Supreme Court late Friday, the Pennsylvania Democratic Party accused the GOP of trying to “manufacture evidence” that counties were not complying with the state order by giving them a day to respond to their request.
Republicans are suing over the late ballots to make sure they are kept separate. This is in case another lawsuit aiming to disallow the state from counting ballots that arrived after Election Day proves to be successful.
Democrats have requested that the court hold off on taking any action on the Republicans’ request.
Many of you have rightly noted that this segregating/securing was already supposed to be happening. PA GOP told SCOTUS today neither it nor the PA Sec of Commonwealth could get all the county boards of election to confirm they were actually complying. Now there’s a SCOTUS Order.
— Shannon Bream (@ShannonBream) November 7, 2020
Currently, Joe Biden is leading President Trump in Pennsylvania by approximately 20,000 votes but that is a very recent development. On Wednesday, Trump was leading Biden by hundreds of thousands of votes in Pennsylvania. Just before midnight Thursday, the president’s lead stunningly shrank to around 24,000 votes.
The Trump legal defense team and Republican groups have filed multiple lawsuits in connection with disputed ballots, alleged procedural missteps, and the validity of deadlines. It is part of an effort to hold on in the key swing state, which carries 20 Electoral College votes. They believe only legal ballots should be counted and that those brought in after the deadline should be invalidated.
Ben Ginsberg, one of the best election law lawyers: "What Justice Alito's order does preserves the status quo" to CNN just now. https://t.co/GfJyZ8oqpI
— Demetri Sevastopulo (@Dimi) November 7, 2020
Ballots that arrived after Election Day aren’t the only ones that Pennsylvania is required to separate. In a lawsuit challenging a deadline extension for voters to validate their identity, the Trump campaign argued that extending the deadline from November 9 to November 12 would “undoubtedly” create a “high risk of jeopardizing the integrity of the election” and delay results. A Pennsylvania court ordered ballots with identification issues that were corrected between November 10 and November 12 to be separated.
Locking barn after horse is out. I discussed w/ @BretBaier @marthamaccallum @ShannonBream and @JonathanTurley: just b/c PA *promised* to segregate late-arriving ballots, didn’t guarantee they would so. Now, Justice Alito has ordered them to do it … but have they been doing so?
— Andy McCarthy (@AndrewCMcCarthy) November 7, 2020
Alito did not direct PA election officials to stop counting the ballots, as the Republicans had also sought. https://t.co/BzcFZ2Ihcz
— Matea Gold (@mateagold) November 7, 2020