Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County to Count Over 2,000 Ballots With Missing Dates

Tom Ozimek
By Tom Ozimek
November 11, 20202020 Election
Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County to Count Over 2,000 Ballots With Missing Dates
A Trump campaign poll watcher films the counting of ballots at the Allegheny County elections warehouse in Pittsburgh, Pa., on Nov. 6, 2020. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

Election officials in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County on Tuesday voted to count over 2,000 ballots with the date missing, while providing a two-day window for an appeal of their decision.

The Allegheny County Board of Elections, in a Nov. 10 release, announced that officials voted by a 2–1 vote to count 2,349 ballots that were returned with no date.

“There is a 48 hour period to appeal that vote and so those ballots will be put aside until that time period has expired with no appeal, or until appeals have been exhausted, whichever comes first,” the Board said in the release.

The ballots were reportedly eligible aside from the missing date, according to a county solicitor cited by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

“They applied on time, received their ballots, voted their ballots, returned them on time with their signature, their printed name, their address—the only thing they’re missing is their date,” said County Solicitor Andrew Szefi, according to the outlet. “They were received timely, and our … ballot sorting machine imprints a date received on each envelope as they’re scanned.”

Mail-in ballots
Mail-in ballots are counted in Lehigh County, Pa., on Nov. 4, 2020. (Rachel Wisniewski/Reuters)

The Board of Elections, comprised of Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Councilman Sam DeMarco, and Councilwoman Bethany Hallam, opted to count those votes, with DeMarco voting against. DeMarco explained his vote by saying that he would follow state law, which stipulates that the ballot mailing envelope must have a date, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

The Board also said that another 2,000 or so ballots were returned without a secrecy envelope and will not be counted. Also, another 947 ballots postmarked on or before Nov. 3 but received during the contested three-day grace period between when polls closed on Election Day and 5 p.m. the following Friday, have been sequestered and not counted.

Mail-in ballots arriving after Election Day in Pennsylvania are being contested in a Republican lawsuit, which is challenging the validity of a deadline extension enacted by the administration of Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat. The state Supreme Court approved the extension over the objection of Republican lawmakers, prompting a petition to be filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, which was initially rejected. Republicans filed an appeal and while the high court declined to consider it before the election, it left the door open to considering it at a later date.

The Allegheny Board of Elections also stated that the total estimated number of mail-in and absentee ballots that remain to be counted is just over 10,000.

It comes after the Trump campaign on Monday filed a lawsuit (pdf) against Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar and seven county boards of election—Allegheny, Centre, Chester, Delaware, Philadelphia, Montgomery, and Northampton, claiming that “almost every critical aspect” of the state’s election was “effectively shrouded in secrecy.”

It alleged that the Pennsylvania election process violated the Constitution by creating different standards of verification and transparency for mail-in and in-person voters, as well as disparate treatment of Republican and Democrat voters and poll watchers.

“In Philadelphia and Allegheny counties, there were over 682,000 ballots that were tabulated outside the view of our observers who were entitled by law to review those ballots,” Trump campaign legal counsel Matt Morgan said at a press conference on Nov. 9.

Morgan said the Pennsylvania numbers were “very close” to the state’s automatic recount rules, and the lawsuit could “swing that.”

An automatic recount is triggered if the margin of victory is less than or equal to 0.5 percent, but would have to be ordered by the secretary of state no later than 5 p.m. on the second Thursday following the election.

Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said Tuesday that he believes the campaign’s latest lawsuit filed in Pennsylvania will “prevail.”

The Pennsylvania lawsuits are among a raft of legal challenges to the 2020 election mounted by Trump and his Republican allies, who have alleged voting irregularities.

Peter Svab contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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