GOP Wins Big In ‘Crucial’ Pennsylvania Mail Voting Lawsuit
Aimee Dilger/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

In a decision that may affect the swing state of Pennsylvania and possibly other swing states, the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals reversed on Wednesday the order of a federal district court and handed the Republican National Committee (RNC) a victory regarding signature verification for mail voting in Pennsylvania.

The case centered around whether mail-in ballots that were mailed in time but either possessed an incorrect date or no date at all under the voter’s signature should be counted, NPR noted.

Democrats argued that the Materiality Provision established in Section 10101(a)(2)(B) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, applies in this case and that the ballots could therefore be counted. The Materiality Provision prohibits denial of the right to vote because of an “error or omission” on paperwork “related to any application, registration, or other act requisite to voting,” if the mistake is “not material in determining whether [an] individual is qualified” to vote.

The RNC countered that enforcement of the date requirement for a ballot “does not impinge on the right to vote” because the Materiality Provision “only prohibits immaterial requirements affecting the qualification and registration of a voter,” not additional requirements for casting a ballot.


The 3rd Circuit decision, in which two of the three judges concurred (all three appointed by Democrats), explained:

States have separate bodies of rules for separate stages of the voting process. One stage, voter qualification, deals with who votes. To register and thus be authorized to vote, applicants must follow prescribed steps and meet certain requirements. It’s like obtaining a license to drive. Another stage deals with how ballots are cast by those previously authorized to vote, which is governed by a different set of rules. To cast a ballot that is valid and will be counted, all qualified voters must abide by certain requirements, just like those authorized to drive must obey the State’s traffic laws like everyone else.

The Materiality Provision is an important federal overlay on state election requirements during the “who” stage: voter qualification. It prohibits States from denying an applicant the right to vote based on an error or omission in paperwork involving his application if that mistake is immaterial in determining whether he is qualified to vote. That is, it is triggered when conduct or laws restrict who may vote. But it leaves it to the States to decide how qualified voters must cast a valid ballot. Pennsylvania has made one such rule—the date requirement—mandatory. The federal Materiality Provision, in our view, does not interfere.

In the wake of the decision, RNC Chairman Michael Whatley stated:

This is a crucial victory for election integrity and voter confidence in the Keystone State and nationwide. Pennsylvanians deserve to feel confident in the security of their mail ballots, and this 3rd Circuit ruling roundly rejects unlawful left-wing attempts to count undated or incorrectly dated mail ballots. Republicans will continue to fight and win for election integrity in courts across the country ahead of the 2024 election.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  GOP Wins Big In ‘Crucial’ Pennsylvania Mail Voting Lawsuit