The lawsuit is filed against the Lanco election commission over rejected mail-in ballots

The Pennsylvania Alliance for Retired Americans (PARA) has filed a lawsuit against the Lancaster County Board of Elections challenging the rejection of mail-in and absentee ballots that are missing the last two digits of the year from the handwritten date on the outer return envelope.

They represent the group Center for Fair Elections and LeVan Stapleton Segal Cochran LLC.

Under Pennsylvania law, voters must record the date they signed the declaration in order for their votes to be counted. Late 2023 Pennsylvania Department of State (DOS) the outer envelope for absentee and absentee ballots has been redesigned so that the first two digits of the year (“20”) are printed in the handwritten date field.

Many Republicans, including Republican Lancaster County Commissioners Josh Parsons AND Ray D’Agostinothey argued that the language of the bill clearly states that a signature and date on voter affidavits are a requirement for the vote to be counted.

“You may think it’s stupid, but it’s legal,” Parsons said at the 2022 election board meeting.

Parsons and D’Agostino, as well as the Democratic commissioner Alice Yoderdid not respond to a request for comment.

During the April primary election, some counties, including Lancaster County, chose to ignore DOS guidance calling on them to count ballots in envelopes containing the day and month but not the last two digits of the year, and adopted a policy of discarding such ballots. In the lawsuit, PARA argues that counties cannot legally reject these ballots under Pennsylvania statute and the Pennsylvania Constitution, given that the ballots themselves show the current year and the year they were issued and cast is obvious.

“The right to vote and elect leaders is our most fundamental freedom and should never be violated. “Counties should not be allowed to throw away ballots simply because a voter neglected to write the last two digits of the year on the outer envelope,” she said. Mike Crossey, President of PARA. “The Pennsylvania Alliance is committed to fighting to ensure that no county can disenfranchise voters over this minor technicality.”

“Rejecting absentee ballots because of the simple omission of the number “24” in the year represents the absurdity of Pennsylvania law. The ballots discarded by Lancaster and other counties are neither from the past nor the future; they were undoubtedly issued, cast and returned in 2024,” he said Jon Sherman, director of litigation at the Fair Elections Center. “Pennsylvania’s election laws must be interpreted to benefit voters, not as a series of tricks and traps.”

Jon Cochran With LeVan Stapleton Segal Cochran he added: “Every vote matters and ballots should not be thrown out because of meaningless technicalities like this.”

LNP | Lancaster on the Internet analyzed 338 ballots from the 2022 midterm general election and found that older people were more likely to have their ballots rejected due to clerical errors. The analysis found that 60 percent of voters who did not properly sign and date their mail-in ballots were 65 or older. The same group of voters constituted only 27% of all voters registered in the district.

You can read the full complaint filed in the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas Here.

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