Pennsylvania’s Democrat secretary of the Commonwealth says that of course they’re doing everything right and honoring the Supreme Court order to separate mail-in ballots received after Election Day from all others – but they’re still counting them even though the Trump campaign demanded those ballots be set aside for the time being.
President Trump isn’t wrong to be skeptical about the shady practices underway in Pennsylvania vote-counting. He’s got plenty of company in legal circles. He’s known about the possibility of easy voter impersonation and fraud since the Keystone State installed its lax COVID infection election rules.
Among the concerns are allowing mail-in ballots—without a proper postmark or signature verification—to be received up to three days after the election. The GOP went to court before the election to stop the lax voting rules, but Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the liberal contingent on the court to create a 4-4 tie, which allowed the state Supreme Court decision approving the rules to stand. That meant the shady rules were held in place because Roberts apparently didn’t want the Court to involve itself in the election. Now, as feared and predicted, the Court is involved in the election. On Friday night, Justice Samuel Alito, who wanted the court to intervene during the first lawsuit, ordered the ballots to be separated in accordance with the guidance issued by the secretary of the Commonwealth. He also called on the full court to intervene.
Trump’s legal team wants the ballots arriving after the November 3 election to be frozen until litigation sorts out the rules.
Pennsylvania officials on Saturday responded to Alito saying there was “no evidence that any county is disobeying” the order to separate out the ballots. But they’re counting them anyway.
The order is related to an ongoing Republican appeal to the Supreme Court to try to keep ballots received in the mail after Election Day from being counted. The state’s top court granted a three-day extension, and the Supreme Court refused to block it.
Election boards around the state received guidance from the Secretary of State to segregate mail ballots that arrived between Election Day and the Friday deadline. However, the guidance also allowed the votes to be counted, the application said. It’s unclear whether all election boards are handling the ballots in the same way, the application said.
Despite the ambiguity about how each county is handling the ballots, Pennsylvania’s attorney general and Secretary of Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar issued a memo to the Court claiming they’re playing by the rules.
“There is no evidence that any county is disobeying that clear guidance to segregate these votes, and the Republican Party offers only speculation that certain unidentified counties may ignore that repeated guidance or that the Secretary will inconsistently change course,” the memo said.
As of Saturday afternoon, 63 counties had confirmed their prior compliance with the guidance, including Allegheny and Philadelphia, according to the memo. The votes received after 8 p.m. on Election Day were being tallied separately, the memo said.
She claimed there was “no evidence” of shady dealings instead of swearing there were no shady dealings, which might make more people feel a bit better about the vote count.
It would also be more confidence-inspiring if the Democrat in charge of elections sounded less like a party hack and more like a representative of the people of the Commonwealth.
Victoria Taft is the host of “The Adult in the Room Podcast With Victoria Taft.” Find it at your favorite podcast outlets. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Parler @VictoriaTaft