Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman sued Pennsylvania election officials Monday demanding that undated or improperly dated mail-in ballots be counted in Tuesday’s closely watched Senate contest and the state’s other elections.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee joined the Fetterman campaign in suing in federal court in Pittsburgh. Two Pennsylvania Democratic voters who sent in undated ballots are also plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
The complaint alleges that a state law requiring mail-in ballots to include the date on the outside of the envelope violates federal election law.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court last week ordered election officials to set aside and not count mail-in and absentee ballots lacking a written date, or having an incorrect date, on the outside of the ballot envelope. That ruling was in response to a lawsuit by the Republican National Committee.
The Fetterman campaign’s lawsuit claims that, since the state Supreme Court’s ruling, thousands of mail-in ballots have been disqualified due to a missing or incorrect date.
The complaint says the action is invalidating “qualified voters who accidentally failed to write the date on their ballot envelope, and more still will be rejected when voters enter an incorrect date, such as their birthdate, instead of the date they completed or signed their ballot.”
“The date [requirement] imposes unnecessary hurdles that eligible Pennsylvanians must clear to exercise their most fundamental right, resulting in otherwise valid votes being arbitrarily rejected without any reciprocal benefit to the Commonwealth,” their lawsuit reads.
The Democrats’ lawsuit demands that a federal judge order all mail-in ballots be counted regardless of whether they have correctly filled out the date on the envelope or not.
Mr. Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor, is running against Republican Mehmet Oz for the seat held by retiring Republican Sen. Patrick J. Toomey. The race is one of a handful of razor-thin contests expected to decide which party controls the Senate next year.