The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled unanimously that mail-in ballots cannot be dismissed if a voter’s signature does not resemble the one on their registration form.
The Oct. 23 decision marks a defeat for 1968 Wharton graduate and President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign. Trump and other Republican candidates in Pennsylvania challenged state officials, alleging that matching signatures on ballots to those on voter rolls was necessary to prevent fraud, Politico reported.
“County boards of elections are prohibited from rejecting absentee or mail-in ballots based on signature comparison conducted by county election officials of employees, or as a result of third-party challenges based on signature analysis and comparisons,” the court wrote.
The court’s ruling upholds Pennsylvania’s Democratic Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar's September guidance that stated ballots should not be thrown out due to mismatched signatures.
“If the Voter’s Declaration on the return envelope is signed and the county board in satisfied that the declaration is sufficient, the mail-in or absentee ballot should be approved for canvassing unless challenged in accordance with the Pennsylvania Election Code,” Boockvar wrote.
The court decision concluded that there was no clause in Pennsylvania's election code that allowed ballots to be rejected based on signature comparisons, and that the state's lawmakers would have included a relevant clause if they wanted to, Politico reported.
Pennsylvania early voting has already seen nearly 1.5 million ballots according to U.S. Elections Project, with a significant majority voting Democrat. Due to regulations preventing election officials from processing ballots until 7 a.m. on Election Day, the key swing state will likely see a delay in counting votes and announcing a winner of the commonwealth's 20 electoral votes.