Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the state’s Democratic Senate candidate, filed a federal lawsuit on Monday arguing that mail-in votes with an inaccurate or missing date should be tallied, despite a Pennsylvania Supreme Court finding that they should not be included in the vote tally.
In the lawsuit, Fetterman claimed that not counting the votes due to a date issue violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which states that election officials cannot deny someone the right to vote based on an error on the ballot that is “not material” to determining whether the individual is qualified to vote under state election law.
In general, Democrats are far more likely to vote by mail before elections, whilst Republicans are more likely to vote on Election Day.
The battle between Fetterman and Republican Mehmet Oz is likely to be one of the tightest in the country and might determine which party controls the Senate majority.
For that reason it is highly possible the true result of the contest may not be known for days.
When returning a ballot, voters are required by law to write the date on the outer envelope, if the ballots are not filled out this way they are supposed to be discarded by election officials
Fetterman’s case claims that rejecting these ballots violates the First and 14th amendments to the United States Constitution. An assertion with little precedent to back it up.
Following the verdict, state election authorities asked voters to contact their county election offices if they believe they made a technical error on their ballot, but officials said some counties were not letting individuals to remedy their mistakes.
Fetterman filed the lawsuit alongside several Democratic committees and the campaign arms of the Senate and House Democrats.
After a disastrous debate with his GOP Rival, Mehmet Oz, Fetterman’s polling numbers suffered significantly, leaving him in a position in which he may have to find votes wherever and whenever possible.