One Pennsylvania county has decided that regardless of what election law says, it will count a host of mail-in ballots.
The Allegheny County Board of Elections on Tuesday voted to count 2,349 ballots that had been set aside because the voter did not put a date on the outer envelope, according to TribLive.
The ballots arrived on or before Election Day.
The board is comprised of County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Councilman Sam DeMarco and Councilwoman Bethany Hallam. DeMarco, who opposed the motion, was outvoted 2-1.
DeMarco said the county should rely on the law as it is written, noting that putting the date on the outside envelope is a requirement.
“I’m sorry, but no,” he said in casting his vote against the motion.
“We’ve taken a hard look at this,” county solicitor Andrew Szefi said. “The legal principle at issue here is the Elections Code should always be construed so as to favor enfranchisement over disenfranchisement. What we have here is essentially a technicality that we don’t want voters to get disenfranchised with.”
County solicitor Andrew Szefi sought to portray the ballots as fully normal with one small exception.
“They applied on time, received their ballots, voted their ballots, returned them on time with their signature, their printed name, their address — the only thing they’re missing is their date,” he said. “They were received timely, and our … ballot sorting machine imprints a date received on each envelope as they’re scanned.”
Szefi said other flaws could lead to some of the ballots being rejected once they are opened.
Allegheny County has other ballots yet to count as well.
Elections Manager David Voye said about 25,000 ballots must still be counted. That includes 17,000 provisional ballots — those cast by voters whose names do not appear on the books of registered voters, individuals who say they requested a mail-in ballot but never received one, and voters who cannot show ID when asked.
Allegheny is one of the Pennsylvania counties targeted by President Donald Trump’s campaign for election irregularities.
Tim Murtaugh, communications director for the Trump campaign, told Fox News the campaign’s lawsuit in the state will “prevail.”
Pennsylvania conducted “an unconstitutional election,” he said on “Outnumbered Overtime,” adding that “depending on where you were in the state and when you voted, you were treated differently.”
“Democrat voters in Philadelphia were called and said, ‘You better come on in, there might be a problem with the mail-in ballot that you submitted,’ and they were invited to come in and cast a provisional vote before Election Day,” Murtaugh said.
“That is not allowed,” he said. “Republican voters were not given that same opportunity.”
“You cannot have an election and treat different voters differently within the same state,” Murtaugh said. “That is a violation of the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution, and it’s a very, very serious offense.”
Pittsburgh, which lies within Allegheny County, has been cited as one area where the Trump campaign was not allowed to observe the ballot-counting process.
“In Pittsburgh, we have observers who for 24 hours were kept out of the room or kept away from the room where they were counting the mail-in ballots, which of course are the highly suspicious ballots,” Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said on the Fox News show “Sunday Morning Futures.”
“During that period of time, at least 135,000 ballots were counted, none of which were observed by any Republican observer as the law requires,” he said.
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