‘Bare’ poll guidelines put 1000’s of Pennsylvania mail-in votes in danger, Philadelphia official warns

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The Pennsylvania Supreme courtroom dominated final Friday that officers can reject so-called bare ballots which might be acquired with out the secrecy envelope. State election officers had beforehand supplied steerage telling counties to depend bare ballots.

Primarily based on error charges in earlier elections, that would imply greater than 100,000 mail-in ballots are in danger, based on Philadelphia metropolis commissioner Lisa Deeley.

Deeley wrote a letter Monday to Republican state Home Speaker Bryan Cutler and Republican state Senate President Joseph Scarnati, calling for pressing legislative motion to remove the secrecy sleeve requirement.

She argued that the requirement may trigger the state to be the “topic of serious post-election authorized controversy, the likes of which we now have not seen since Florida in 2000.”

“I hope you contemplate this letter as me being a canary within the coal mine,” Deeley wrote.

Cutler spokesman Mike Straub mentioned there is not any plan to alter the requirement.

“The Supreme Court docket was very, very clear of their ruling that the secrecy envelopes served an vital objective in guaranteeing the confidentiality of each poll,” mentioned Straub. “The courtroom has actually made that official. We actually have no plans to take that up once more.”

The Keystone State is one among solely 16 states that also requires a secrecy envelope or sleeve. Within the 2019 Common Election, about 6.4% of absentee ballots had been bare, a charge that when utilized to the November election may imply 30,000 to 40,000 ballots might be thrown out in Philadelphia alone and over 100,000 statewide.

There isn’t any course of for fixing ballots that arrive with out the secrecy sleeves, Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar’s workplace mentioned Tuesday.

Boockvar plans to problem up to date steerage on bare ballots, based on communications director Wanda Murren.

“The steerage on bare ballots was faraway from our web site instantly after the ruling Thursday, and counties had been notified that it was withdrawn,” Murren mentioned Tuesday.

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