November 6, 2020 at 3:38 PM EST
Pennsylvania GOP asks U.S. Supreme Court to order segregation of late-arriving ballots
By Robert Barnes, Felicia Sonmez and Karen Heller
The Pennsylvania Republican Party filed a new request with the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday asking it to keep state officials from counting in any way mail-in ballots received after Election Day.
Under a ruling by the state Supreme Court, election officials in Pennsylvania are allowed to count ballots that were postmarked by Tuesday and arrive by 5 p.m. Friday. But state officials agreed to segregate ballots received after 8 p.m. on Election Day because of pending legal challenges by Republicans.
Despite that, the state GOP said Friday that an official order from the court was necessary to ensure that the ballots are segregated.
The filing acknowledged that the Republican Party did not know of any county not already complying with an order from Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar to segregate the ballots received in that three-day window. The filing said that party representatives contacted all 67 counties and that 42 affirmed that they were segregating the relevant ballots. Because the party did not get a response from the rest, the filing said that raised the possibility that the order might not be being enforced in all counties. It also said that Boockvar might change her order at some point.
The court usually requires more proof in an injunction request that an emergency is at hand.
Boockvar has said that a very small number of ballots are at stake and that the current count includes only ballots that arrived by Election Day.
“So I think no matter what happens, I don’t think it’s going to be a tremendous impact on this race,” she told CNN on Thursday.
In Philadelphia, for example, just 500 ballots came in Wednesday and Thursday, according to city officials.
The Supreme Court has twice declined to stop the deadline extension for receiving ballots approved by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. But three justices said they think that court’s order might be unconstitutional and that they were open to granting a case that looks at the issue. It is for that reason that state officials agreed to keep the ballots segregated.