Pennsylvania was one of the last big states to be called for Trump on Election Night 2016. Thanks to a new court ruling, this year the Keystone State likely won’t be called until days after the election.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled Thursday that mail-in ballots received three days after the election are to be counted.
The 5-2 decision, considered a major victory for the Democratic Party, was immediately criticized by Republicans, with Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch telling Lou Dobbs on Fox News that the decision “provides a helpful map to vote fraudsters” and “makes it easier to vote after you know what the results might be.” He said the decision shows that courts are “ratifying” the mail-in ballot plan put in place by the radical Left to “blow up the elections.”
More than 3 million voters in Pennsylvania are expected to cast ballots by mail this year, 10 times the number of people who voted by mail there in 2016 when Trump won the state by 44,292 votes.
In its decision, the court’s majority held that ballots postmarked by the time polls close in Pennsylvania on Nov. 3 and received by county election boards by 5 p.m. on Nov. 6 must be counted.
In an even more extreme move, the court said that ballots without a postmark or proof of mailing must also be counted, unless a “preponderance of the evidence” shows they were mailed after Election Day.
It’s unclear what that evidence could be as the court, in its ruling, also approved the use of satellite election offices and drop boxes, where voters can deposit their ballots.
The Supreme Court also sided with the Democratic Party and kicked the Green Party candidate off the ballot. In 2016, the party’s presidential nominee Jill Stein got 49,941 votes in Pennsylvania, more than Trump’s margin of victory in the state.
The court also sided with Democrats in affirming a state requirement that poll watchers must be a registered voter in the county where they are observing elections. This will make it very difficult for the Trump campaign to station poll watchers at polling places in communities like Philadelphia, with relatively few Republicans.
Democrats argued that lifting the mandate would allow outsiders to flood polling places and could lead to voter intimidation — an ironic argument, given Philadelphia’s most infamous incident of voter intimidation occurred in 2008 when members of the New Black Panther party threatened white people attempting to vote.
Democrats celebrated the victories on Thursday, with Democrat lawyer Marc Elias ticking off the wins and tweeting “Not Tired of Winning” in all caps.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Pennsylvania will join 18 states and the District of Columbia that count ballots received after Election Day. Among them is Illinois, a state long associated with election fraud. They count ballots received up to 14 days after the election.
“New data out this week show the total number of rejected 2020 PA primary ballots made for roughly 50 percent of the ultimate difference between Trump and Hillary in 2016,” said Logan Churchwell with the Public Interest Legal Foundation. “Mail voting disenfranchises people. Full stop.
“Anyone who wants to avoid these unfortunate realities should simply vote in person,” Churchwell added.