The Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued three significant rulings that extended the deadline for absentee ballots
The rulings come following court challenges from the state Democratic Party, which has been aiming to ease Pennsylvania's absentee voting procedures during the pandemic.
New ground rules have been set for the 2020 general election. Election officials are now allowed to count absentee or mail in ballots up to three days after the election, if they are postmarked by November 3rd.
“The supreme court ruling allowing that extra 3 days if its postmarked by election day or missing or has an illegible post mark, we can still count that up to three days after the election.
For Nadeen Manzoni the change means that thousands of Pennsylvanians whose votes would've been rejected for arriving after the deadline will now be counted.
“So that is beneficial for anyone who might be a little late getting their ballot in the mail or has any concerns about their ballot getting here on time. It allows us from some extra time to get that in and be counted. “
The court's ruling, also declared that ballot drop boxes like this one inside the Pike Administration building, are legal within the state.
“So people can use the drop box upstairs or they can hand deliver them to our office, but they also need to be aware only the person whose ballot it is, will be allowed to drop off a ballot. “
But, the court also rejected the argument that “naked ballots,” or those that are submitted with no outer envelope shielding the ballot, should be counted.
“So voters really need to take the time and make sure they are putting that ballot inside that secrecy envelope, sealing that envelope, signing that declaration on the back in order for their vote to be counted.
And Manzoni’s preparing for a massive influx of absentee ballots during the coronavirus pandemic. She’s already received more than 10-thousand applications.
“So were going to see probably half of our turnout from 2016, which was just over 26-thousand people, voting by mail this election. “
Elections officials delayed sending out mail ballots while the court cases were pending. The rulings mean such ballots could go out as soon as this month.