Philadelphia elections officials will count mail ballots from last week’s primary election that arrived in envelopes without dates, despite a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling that undated ballots be rejected.
The decision isn’t expected to change the outcome of any races, and one local election lawyer described the court ruling as leaving room for interpretation. But the decision could nevertheless invite further scrutiny or even litigation, just months after the days-long counting of mail ballots in Pennsylvania’s largest city attracted a national spotlight in the final days of a close presidential election.
Philadelphia received about 1,300 undated mail ballots for the May 18 primary, about 2% of the 64,000 mail ballots received by the deadline that night.
“For me, this is an issue of enfranchising vs. disenfranchising,” Lisa Deeley, chair of the Philadelphia City Commissioners, the office that runs elections, said before voting to accept the ballots. “Failure to add a date is a minor technicality, otherwise the voter did everything right. Nobody is alleging fraud.”