Judge rules that Virginia’s late mail-in ballot rule was illegal

It could be months or years before all the legal issues surrounding the 2020 election are resolved in various courts of law on a state-by-state basis.

This week in Virginia, however, a judge decided that a rule created by the Virginia Board of Elections that allowed the counting of mail-in ballots that arrived without a postmark up to three days after Election Day was, in fact, illegal, the Daily Caller reported.

While this is certainly a victory in the fight to preserve election integrity, it doesn’t suggest that fraud occurred in the state or that the outcome would have been different without the rule.

“Win for the Rule of Law”

Virginia Circuit Court Judge William Eldridge made it clear in his ruling that the counting of late, mail-in ballots without postmarks was a violation of state statutes and will not be allowed in future Virginia elections.

“This is a big win for the Rule of Law,” said Public Interest Legal Foundation’s President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams, who sued the state on behalf of Frederick County, Virginia election official Thomas Reed.

He continued, “This consent decree gives Mr. Reed everything he requested — a permanent ban on accepting ballots without postmarks after Election Day and is a loss for the Virginia bureaucrats who said ballots could come in without these protections.”

The original change in rules that allowed the late, mail-in ballots without proper postmarks was initiated by the Virginia Board of Elections on Aug. 4 and was made official on Aug. 13. Reed’s lawsuit was filed on Oct. 9, according to the Public Interest Legal Foundation.

In the original lawsuit, PILF stated that Reed had a simple request, which was for the state’s election board to “follow the law.”

State elections

Virginia will hold elections in November for the governorship and the Virginia House of Delegates, and the recent ruling will ensure that mail-in ballots are only counted if they fall within the established laws of the state.

In the case that a ballot arrives with an illegible postmark, the Intelligent Mail Barcode system by the USPS will be used to verify the date of the mailing.

“The consent decree, entered by the Court on January 13, 2021, sets forth that late ballots missing postmarks be rejected. If a late-arriving ballot contains an illegible postmark but USPS barcodes do not indicate a late mailing, it can be accepted,” PILF explained in a statement on their website.

The organization has filed lawsuits regarding mail-in ballot issues in a number of other states, including Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Michigan and Florida.

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