SCOTUS gives split decision on PA mail-in ballot rule, defers to lower court siding with Dems

by Laura Mize · Oct 20th, 2020 10:44 am

Last Updated Oct 22nd, 2020 at 7:45 am

Lacking a ninth justice, the U.S. Supreme Court turned out a split decision on a Pennsylvania mail-in ballot rule on Monday.

The 4-4 decision means the ruling of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court stands, as a split decision by the U.S. Supreme Court lacks the authority to override the decision of a lower court.

The lower court had ruled that ballots received three days after the November 3 general election will still be counted, even if they do not have a postmark from election day or earlier. For a mail-in ballot to be rejected as late, there must be "a preponderance of the evidence demonstrates that it was mailed after Election Day," the Pennsylvania court ruled.

Chief Justice John Roberts sided with Associate Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Stephen Breyer in rejecting the Republican Party of Pennsylvania's application to stay the state court's decision.

Previously, the rule was that ballots must be postmarked by Election Day to be counted.

🔦 The U.S. Supreme Court lacks a ninth justice after the September death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The Senate Judiciary Committee will likely vote this week on President Trump's nominee to fill the empty seat, Judge Amy Coney Barrett.


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