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John Fetterman's campaign is already legally challenging certain ballots: 'We are committed to using every tool at our disposal'
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John Fetterman's campaign is already legally challenging certain ballots: 'We are committed to using every tool at our disposal'

Election Day just began, but Pennsylvania Democrat John Fetterman is already challenging the legality of certain mail-in ballots in the Keystone State.

What is the background?

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled last week that election officials should not count undated or improperly dated mail-in and absentee ballots.

However, the court was, according to Reuters, "evenly split on the question of whether throwing out ballots with incorrect dates or no dates marked on the envelopes in which they are mailed violates a federal law that makes it illegal to throw out ballots for trivial reasons."

Therefore, the court ordered election precincts to "segregate and preserve any ballots contained in undated or incorrectly dated outer envelopes."

What does the Fetterman lawsuit say?

Filed in federal court on the eve of Election Day, Fetterman's lawsuit argues that not counting ballots that violate Pennsylvania election law violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Specifically, the lawsuit claims that Pennsylvania's law requiring that the correct date be certified on the outside of a ballot envelope disenfranchises voters because the Civil Rights Act bars election officials from prohibiting voters from voting over an "error or omission on any record or paper relating to any application, registration, or other act requisite to voting" that is "not material in determining whether such individual is qualified under State law to vote in such election."

The lawsuit states:

The date on a mail ballot envelope thus has no bearing on a voter’s qualifications and serves no purpose other than to erect barriers to qualified voters exercising their fundamental constitutional right to vote. This unnecessary impediment violates the Civil Rights Act and the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

The Fetterman campaign said, "As we fight this latest Republican attack on Americans’ democratic rights, Pennsylvanians should check their ballot status to ensure their vote is counted. We are committed to using every tool at our disposal to protect Pennsylvanians’ constitutional right to participate in this election, including defeating the GOP in court."

It's likely this is just the beginning of what could a brutal fight over a U.S. Senate seat that could decide which party controls the Senate.

After all, Democrats and even the White House are warning voters that it could take days for the outcome of elections to be decided officially.

Anything else?

It's not yet clear how the federal court will rule in the case.

However, the U.S. Supreme Court has already potentially cleared the way for counting undated mail-in ballots.

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