PA Supreme Court: Ballots cannot be challenged or thrown away if the signature doesn’t match

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This is a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, County of Allegheny Official Mail-in General Election Ballot in Pittsburgh on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Justices unanimously ruled on Friday that election ballots cannot be thrown away or challenged if the voter signature doesn’t match the signature on their voter registration.

Earlier in October, PA Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar asserted that the signatures do not need to match in order for the ballot to count.

According to the Pennsylvania Election Code, along with an application requiring voter information, the paper form of a mail-in ballot request requires voters to sign an eligibility declaration prior to receiving the mail-in ballot. Then, a county board of elections must confirm if a voter is qualified to receive a mail-in ballot by verifying a voter’s drivers’ license or the last four digits of a voter’s social security number with the voter’s permanent registration card.

Through this process, Secretary Boockvar interpreted that this comparison process was the only thing necessary for a ballot to be counted.

However, this differs from the Trump campaign’s assertion that signatures should be required to match. According to the PA Supreme Court decision, earlier this month, concerned voters filed similar concern to the Trump campaign, stating that Secretary Boockvar’s belief was “contrary to the Election Code and, thus, constituted an infringement on the ‘fundamental right to vote and to a free and fair election.'”

However, SCOPA stood by Secretary Boockvar’s initial claim.

“We grant the Secretary’s petition for declarative relief, and hold that county boards of elections are prohibited from rejecting absentee or mail-in ballots based on signature comparison conducted by county election officials or employees, or as the result of third-party challenges based on signature analysis and comparisons,” said the SCOPA decision.

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