Court rejects lawsuit to delay mail-in ballot deadline

Pennsylvania

FILE – In this Nov. 1, 2016, file photo, mail-in ballots for the 2016 General Election are shown at the elections ballot center at the Salt Lake County Government Center, in Salt Lake City. As President Donald Trump rails against voting by mail, many members of his own political party are embracing it to keep their voters safe during the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The state Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a lawsuit seeking to force Pennsylvania elections officials to accept absentee or mail-in ballots as long as they are received within a week after the primary or general elections during the pandemic.

Disability Rights Pennsylvania, the Senior Law Center and several other parties filed the suit in late April, arguing that postal delays from the pandemic could cause ballots to be received too late to count.

However, the administration of Gov. Tom Wolf had argued against it, saying among other things that it would be unconstitutional because it would give different voters different deadlines.

Under a 2019 law, the deadline for county elections offices to receive absentee and mail-in ballots is currently 8 p.m., when polls close, on election day.

Pennsylvania’s primary was postponed until June 2 from April 28 because of the pandemic, and many, if not most, votes are expected to be cast by mail. Meanwhile, many counties are making plans to shrink the number of polling locations they would otherwise open because of the pandemic.

The state legalized mail-in ballots last fall and they will be used for the first time this year.

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