The Republican National Committee (RNC) announced on Friday that it will lead a lawsuit against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania over the issue of illegally “curing” ballots in elections, a process whereby election workers alter incomplete or unreadable ballots rather than treating them as the law requires.
“The RNC is joining with the NRSC, NRCC, Pennsylvania GOP, and concerned Pennsylvania voters to sue the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for unequal treatment of its citizens at the ballot box. Pennsylvania Democrats, led by Governor Tom Wolf, are unconstitutionally flouting the law by failing to adopt uniform rules for how elections in the Keystone State are run,” said RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel in a statement. “This lawsuit will ensure that Pennsylvania voters have confidence in their elections and underscores the Republican Party’s commitment to making it easier to vote and harder to cheat in Pennsylvania and nationwide.”
According to the RNC press release, the lawsuit seeks to challenge “the illegal and unfair practice of some [Pennsylvania] counties allowing voters to ‘cure’ defective mail ballots while others do not.”
“Pennsylvania law does not permit counties to contact voters and allow them to cure their ballots,” the document reads. “Many counties in Pennsylvania follow the law and do not allow for curing; however, others have implemented a curing process, largely in secrecy, that varies by county.”
Ballot curing is a process by which an election worker adds information to an absentee ballot that has a noticeable defect, such as missing personal information. The law does not allow for anyone but the voter to fill out a ballot. The law says mail-in ballots that are not filled out as legally required must be declared invalid rather than altered by election workers so they can be counted.
As noted in the lawsuit, “[i]n 2020, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court unanimously held that ‘the
Election Code provides procedures for casting and counting a vote by mail’ but does not provide for a notice and opportunity to cure procedure for a voter who fails to comply with the requirements for voting by mail or absentee.”
“The [Pennsylvania] Supreme Court further stated that ‘[t]o the extent that a voter is at risk of having his or her ballot rejected’ due to failure to comply with the Election Code’s signature and secrecy ballot requirements for mail-in and absentee ballots, ‘the decision to provide a “notice and opportunity to cure” procedure to alleviate that risk is one best suited for the Legislature,'” the lawsuit reads.
“It is the Pennsylvania legislature’s responsibility to uniformly enact these procedures and for them to apply across the state. The U.S. Constitution is clear that state legislatures should set the rules for how elections are run,” the RNC said.
Pennsylvania Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has regularly blocked efforts by the state’s GOP-controlled legislature to bring transparency and security to state and local elections. Last year, Wolf vetoed legislation that would have “mandated voter identification in all elections,” among “a host of other changes to election law.”
“Governor Tom Wolf has vetoed and opposed Pennsylvania Republican-led legislation to remedy [the issue of ballot curing],” the RNC said in conclusion. “Now, a coalition of Republican groups and concerned citizens are stepping in to protect and standardize Pennsylvania elections.”
Shawn Fleetwood is a Staff Writer for The Federalist and a graduate of the University of Mary Washington. He also serves as a state content writer for Convention of States Action and his work has been featured in numerous outlets, including RealClearPolitics, RealClearHealth, and Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @ShawnFleetwood
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