Court Rules in GOP’s Favor in Key Lawsuit Over Mail-in Voting

[Photo Credit: By Jeffrey Beall - Own work, CC BY 3.0,]

A significant ruling was made by the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday, which could have implications for the swing state of Pennsylvania and potentially other swing states.

The court overturned the decision of a federal district court and delivered a win to the Republican National Committee (RNC) regarding the issue of signature verification for mail voting in Pennsylvania.

The focal point of the case revolved around the question of whether mail-in ballots, which were sent in a timely manner but had either an incorrect or missing date under the voter’s signature, should be included in the final count.

Democrats contended that the Materiality Provision outlined in Section 10101(a)(2)(B) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is applicable to this particular case, thus asserting that the ballots should be eligible for counting.

The Materiality Provision is an important federal overlay on state election requirements during the “who” stage: voter qualification. It prohibits States from denying an applicant the right to vote based on an error or omission in paperwork involving his application if that mistake is immaterial in determining whether he is qualified to vote. That is, it is triggered when conduct or laws restrict who may vote. But it leaves it to the States to decide how qualified voters must cast a valid ballot. Pennsylvania has made one such rule—the date requirement—mandatory. The federal Materiality Provision, in our view, does not interfere.” the ruling stated.

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