Pennsylvania Court Orders Segregation of Provisional Ballots

A Pennsylvania Court ordered county boards of election in the state to put aside provisional ballots cast on Election Day for voters who also sent absentee or mail-in ballots that arrived on time.

A judge of Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court said Friday the ballots should be separated to determine the validity of the provisional ballots and whether they can be counted.

The ruling came in a lawsuit brought a group of Pennsylvania Republicans, including Mike Kelly, who was elected to a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, that have been challenging what they believe to be defective ballots.

They accused Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar of illegally instructing county boards the evening before the election to identify voters whose ballots had been rejected, giving the parties a chance to notify them and encourage them to vote in-person using provisional ballots.

According to the suit, the instruction improperly gave some voters the opportunity to fix defective ballots and created “a scenario where some voters will cast two conflicting votes.”

Boockvar’s office didn’t immediately respond to a call seeking comment.

The same plaintiffs have also accused officials in Montgomery County, in the Democratic-leaning Philadelphia suburbs, of helping voters “cure” ballots that should considered invalid.

Republicans have filed several legal challenges over ballot-counting in Pennsylvania. The state’s 20 electoral votes are critical to any hopes President Donald Trump still has of retaining the White House.

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