'Novel idea': Internet divided as Pennsylvania appeals court mandates dates on mail-in ballot envelopes

'Novel idea': Internet divided as Pennsylvania appeals court mandates dates on mail-in ballot envelopes
A Pennsylvania appeals court ruled a voter should add the proper date on the envelope of mail-in ballots to consider the vote valid (Getty Images)

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA: A federal appeals court in Pennsylvania has decided to deem invalid the mail-in ballots that were received without the required handwritten dates on the outside of envelopes, Fox News reported.

On Wednesday, March 27, the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled 2-1, overturning a lower court's November 2023 decision.

The lower court ruling demanded a count of the mail-in ballots if received in due time, even if the proper dates are missing, citing the "trivial paperwork" errors deprived the voter's rights.

Further, the lower court pointed out that the requirement of accurate dates violated the Materiality Provision of the US Civil Rights Act of 1964, according to which immaterial errors or omissions should not be a reason to deny voting.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 02: A resident drops off a vote-by-mail ballot in a secure drop box on O
Pennsylvania federal court overturned a lower court decision regarding date in mail-in ballots (Getty Images)

Judge cites Pennsylvania state law to mandate requirement

Judge Thomas Ambro reversed the lower court's decision, citing a state law passed by the legislature requiring voters to include the correct date on their envelope for their vote to be considered valid.

"The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania unanimously held that this ballot-casting rule is mandatory; therefore, failure to adhere to it renders a ballot invalid under Pennsylvania law," wrote the appeals court judge. He further noted that the Materiality Provision "only applies when the State is determining who may vote."

PROVO, UT - OCTOBER 26: A Utah County Election worker picks up mailed ballots from the United States
Pennsylvania state law mandates to put the date on the mail-in ballot envelope (Getty Images)

As per a 2019 state law, the voters in Pennsylvania should "fill out, date and sign the declaration printed on [the] envelope" before submitting their ballot.

The ruling will significantly impact the upcoming presidential election in November, which is a rematch between President Joe Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump.

In the 2020 election, Biden won in Pennsylvania with a narrow margin, while in 2016, the state chose Trump. Crucially, the Rust Belt state is a pivotal battleground and is widely regarded as a swing state in the 2024 election.

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 26: U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about his racial equity agenda in the S
President Joe Biden won in Pennsylvania in the 2020 election (Getty Images)

Between Democrat and Republican voters in the state, the former is more likely to cast their votes by mail-in ballot.

RNC chair lauds the ruling

Prising the appeals court ruling, RNC co-chair Michael Whatley said, "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 Third Circuit ruling roundly rejects unlawful left-wing attempts to count updated or incorrectly dated mail ballots," he added.

Recently, RNC co-chair Lara Trump claimed that if her father-in-law gets re-elected in November, along with the needed majority in the House and Senate, he will end the mail-in voting system.

FORT WAYNE, IN - NOVEMBER 05:  U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at a campaign rally for Republica
Donald Trump may likely end the mail-in ballot system if elected in November (Getty Images)

American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, on the other hand, opposed the date mandate.

"If this ruling stands, thousands of Pennsylvania voters could lose their vote over a meaningless paperwork error," argued Mike Lee, the executive director of the ACLU in Pennsylvania.

Appeals court decision divides Internet

Netizens split into two groups weighing on the appeal court ruling ahead of the crucial presidential election. When one group welcomed the date mandate, another demanded that the mail-in system should be removed entirely.

One user wrote, "What a novel idea!" While another person remarked, "There should be no such thing as mail=in ballots, except for the military."



"A single step in the right direction," a user opined. On the other hand, a response read, "That ruling gives little credibility to the system."



Someone else stated, "It'll be a way of tackling election frauds." Whereas an individual opposed the ruling, questioning, "If it's been proven that mail-in voting is a scam, what makes anyone think writing the date on it won't be scammed as well?"



A person totally opposed the mail-in voting facility, saying, "They should be unavailable. Unless u have the gumption to get to the polling station on Election Day u shouldn’t get to vote unless there are extenuating circumstances like being a shut-in or overseas on military duty." [sic]


"Good! Should be nation wide!" read another remark. [sic]


This article contains remarks made on the Internet by individual people and organizations. MEAWW cannot confirm them independently and does not support claims or opinions being made online.

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