Lawsuit Seeks To Count Misdated Mail Ballots In Pennsylvania

 May 30, 2024

In Pennsylvania, a new lawsuit challenges the validity of a state law concerning mail-in ballots, aiming to transform the way votes are counted.

A lawsuit has been initiated to contest a Pennsylvania statute that mandates a written date on mail-in ballot envelopes, arguing it contravenes the state constitution.

The legal challenge, spearheaded by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), targets a specific provision that requires voters to date their mail-in ballot envelopes. The ACLU argues that this mandate lacks constitutional backing and fails to serve its intended purpose of verifying timely ballot submission.

In recent rulings, courts have suggested that the date on ballot envelopes does not necessarily prove that a ballot was received before or on the deadline. This revelation supports the lawsuit’s claim that the dating requirement is redundant and potentially disenfranchising.

Thousands of Ballots Affected by Dating Requirement

Statistics reveal that nearly 8,000 ballots were discarded in the last November election due to issues with dates and signatures. Furthermore, about 10,000 ballots went uncounted during the 2022 mid-term elections solely because they did not meet the dating requirement.

The ACLU has strongly criticized this outcome, highlighting the significant number of voters affected by what they deem an unnecessary bureaucratic hurdle. They argue that the requirement disenfranchises otherwise compliant voters who make a simple mistake in dating their ballot.

Steve Loney, an attorney with the ACLU, emphasized the constitutional implications of the lawsuit. "When something buts up against the Constitution, the Constitution wins.

So here we have a requirement that people have to sign and date. And include a handwritten date that means nothing. Right, everybody agrees that we’re talking about tens of in thousands of ballots that were received on time. They complied with every other step in the process. And this one step means nothing," he stated.

The ACLU has also proposed that counties should proactively reach out to voters whose ballots are at risk of being excluded due to incorrect dates. This suggestion aims to rectify errors and preserve the voting rights of affected individuals.

As the case progresses, it will potentially set a significant precedent regarding voter rights and the handling of mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania.

Voter Rights at the Forefront of Legal Debates

The outcome of this lawsuit could influence future electoral processes not only in Pennsylvania but across the United States. It raises questions about the balance between preventing fraud and avoiding disenfranchisement of voters.

Legal experts suggest that removing such dating requirements could streamline the voting process and reduce the number of ballots unnecessarily discarded. This change could lead to a more inclusive voting environment, where minor errors do not invalidate a citizen's right to vote.

The Pennsylvania state officials have yet to respond to the lawsuit, but the case is expected to draw significant attention from both legal and voter rights groups nationwide.

Anticipating Changes in Mail-In Voting Laws

As the court deliberates on this critical issue, the spotlight remains firmly on the implications for mail-in voting. Advocates for voter rights await a ruling that could potentially eliminate hurdles that currently affect thousands of voters.

Regardless of the outcome, the debate over mail-in ballot requirements is likely to continue, as stakeholders seek to refine voting processes to ensure fairness and accessibility for all voters.

Observers note that the resolution of this lawsuit could prompt similar legal challenges in other states, potentially leading to widespread changes in how mail-in ballots are regulated and counted.


In conclusion, the Pennsylvania lawsuit represents a critical junion in the ongoing debate over voter rights and election integrity.

It challenges an outdated requirement that may disenfranchise thousands of voters and calls for a reevaluation of what is necessary to ensure a ballot's validity.

As the case unfolds, it will undoubtedly influence future legislative decisions and could reshape the landscape of American electoral politics.

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