A U.S. Supreme Court justice issued a temporary order requiring Pennsylvania officials to segregate ballots that arrived after Election Day, granting for now a request by the state’s Republican Party.
It’s far from clear the skirmish will affect the election struggle between President
Although state officials have already told county officials to separate out the late-arriving ballots, Republicans said that step didn’t go far enough to ensure they can be invalidated later.
Alito also ordered Pennsylvania counties to count late-arriving ballots separately, though he stopped short of halting those counts altogether, as Republicans are seeking.
The order marks the first time the nation’s highest court has intervened in the post-election wrangling. Alito, a Republican appointee who handles emergency matters from Pennsylvania, said he would refer the matter to the full Supreme Court for the next steps. He ordered Democrats to respond by Saturday at 2:00 p.m. Washington time.
Boockvar told county officials on Oct. 28 to separate out the late-arriving ballots. Later that day, Alito pointed to Boockvar’s guidance when he agreed with the court not to expedite the broader dispute over the ballot-receipt extension so it could be resolved before Election Day.
In his two-page order Friday, Alito suggested he now agreed with Republicans that Boockvar’s directive was inadequate. He said it isn’t clear all Pennsylvania counties are complying with Boockvar’s guidance.
Alito also suggested annoyance that he didn’t learn until Friday that Boockvar had issued updated guidance on Nov. 1 telling the boards to count the late-arriving ballots as soon as possible, while keeping the tallies separate.
“Until today, this court was not informed that the guidance issued on Oct. 28, which had an important bearing on the question whether to order special treatment of the ballots in question, had been modified,” Alito wrote.
(Updates to include excerpt from order in final paragraph.)
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