On Thursday, a Pennsylvania judge dismissed a Republican National Committee lawsuit that would have blocked counties from helping voters make sure their ballots count by correcting small, technical problems on mail-in ballot envelopes.
The judge ruled that only the local judicial system has authority.
The action, which was brought in the Commonwealth Court on a statewide level, claimed that the state’s ban on “ballot curing” required the court to dismiss the case.
Commonwealth Court Judge Ellen Ceisler, however, sided with the state’s Democratic administration’s legal team and ruled that county courts, not state courts, have jurisdiction in the matter. This is because, under state law, counties are given the authority to make rules, regulations, and instructions necessary to run an election.
Counties in Pennsylvania with a Democratic majority have been more likely to engage in ballot curing. A voter who forgets to date or sign their ballot envelope will receive a notice reminding them to do so before the polls shut so that they can cast a valid ballot.
There is no prohibition against ballot curing, according to the state’s legal team. Democratic Party groups’ attorneys who intervened in the case hailed the decision as a victory for the electorate.
This lawsuit is just one of many filed by Republicans in Pennsylvania over the past three years to invalidate votes cast by mail or otherwise prevent them from being counted.
The presidential swing state’s mail-in voting system is highly skewed toward the Democratic Party. That’s because Republicans have a negative impression of mail-in voting thanks to unfounded assertions made by former President Donald Trump that it was used by Democrats to steal the election.
This newest lawsuit was filed by Republicans in September, two months before voters in Pennsylvania gave Democrats control of the governorship and the Senate seats.
In cases filed in 2020, both before and after the presidential election, Republicans made the same arguments.
One of these lawsuits was filed against Democratic-leaning counties by Trump’s campaign because of their ballot curing practices. The federal judge, who was appointed by Trump, dismissed their allegations, saying that Trump’s attorneys should sue counties that didn’t help voters fix their ballots.