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Voting Rights Groups Respond to SCOTUS Ruling on Pennsylvania Ballot Receipt Deadlines

Split Court Decision Upholds Pennsylvania Supreme Court Ruling 

WASHINGTON—In a 4-4 decision, the US Supreme Court today ruled that Pennsylvania mailed ballots postmarked by Election Day will be counted if they arrive before 5:00 pm on Friday, November 6. The League of Women Voters’ involvement in this case, which originated in state court and culminated in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling that was upheld today, was in partnership with the Black Political Empowerment Project, Common Cause Pennsylvania, Make the Road Pennsylvania, and three individual voters. The groups were represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, the ACLU Voting Rights Project, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Public Interest Law Center, and the law firm WilmerHale. 

The following are reactions from advocacy groups and counsel. 

Terrie Griffin, co-president of the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania: 

“We are pleased with the court’s ruling today that protects voter confidence in mail voting in Pennsylvania. A vote cast on Election Day should count no matter how it is cast. Voters cannot predict or control when their mailed ballots will arrive at their election office. It is the responsibility of the state to ensure there are safe options for voters to return their ballots and know they are counted. We are pleased that today’s decision affirms once and for all that ballots postmarked by Election Day must be counted.” 

Celina Stewart, chief counsel and senior director of advocacy and litigation at the League of Women Voters of the United States: 

“In an election season riddled with attacks on mail-in voting, the deadlock vote from the U.S. Supreme Court is a welcome reprieve for voters in Pennsylvania. The impact of tonight’s decision will effectively ensure that voters have the time they need to execute their ballots despite delivery uncertainties coupled with massive surges in voter participation by mail due to the pandemic. It’s critically important that ballot receipt deadlines are not used as yet another voter suppression tactic in such a consequential election down the ballot for communities around the country.” 

Suzanne Almeida, interim executive director of Common Cause Pennsylvania: 

“Our democracy is stronger when every vote – whether it is cast in person or by mail – is counted. Today’s decision is a win for voters and for our democracy. But it’s important to know that by extending the deadline to receive voted mail in ballots, we will need to be even more patient in waiting for the results. It’s important that every single vote is counted as long as it is received by the deadline.” 

Jon Greenbaum, chief counsel at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law: 

“From the beginning, we have contended that American voters face too many barriers when they seek to vote during this election cycle. Extending Pennsylvania’s ballot deadline will be one of the most significant and essential tools to ensure that the state’s voters can participate in this meaningful election despite the threat of COVID-19. And the ruling is a reminder that it should never be this difficult to vote in our democracy, especially during a pandemic.” 

Sarah Brannon, managing attorney with the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project: 

“Once again, the courts have rejected the Trump campaign’s attempt to suppress the vote. Democracy is stronger for it.” 

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PRESS CONTACT: Kayla Vix | 202-809-9668 | [email protected]