Lawsuits filed over curing ballots in Pennsylvania during 2020 election

ByNydia Han and Heather Grubola WPVI logo
Wednesday, November 4, 2020
Lawsuits filed over curing ballots in Pennsylvania
At least three more lawsuits have been filed by Republicans challenging the eligibility of certain votes cast and "cured" in Pennsylvania.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- At least three more lawsuits have been filed by Republicans challenging the eligibility of certain votes cast and "cured" in Pennsylvania.

What does curing mean? For example: if a voter failed to fill out the disclosure envelope properly on a mail-in ballot or forgot to sign it, some counties gave those voters the chance to correct or "cure" those errors so that their votes would count.

But is that allowable? That depends on whom you ask, and now it could be up to the courts to decide.

Lancaster County rejected ballots with mistakes, but in Bucks County about 1,600 people were sent notices about ballot errors, mainly involving disclosure envelopes.

"Failure to completely fill out the exterior of the return envelope when people send in their mailing envelopes, they may have forgotten to date it, they may have neglected to sign it," explained Larry King, the Director of Public Information for Bucks County.

RELATED: President Trump sues in Pennsylvania and Michigan; asks for Wisconsin recount

Voters acros the country waited in anticipation to Wednesday find out who will occupy the White House for the next four years.

Voters were told they could cast a provisional ballot in case their mail-in was deemed ineligible or:

"You can come in and we can get it corrected so that your ballot can count," said King.

Bucks County also put aside about 375 naked ballots or other ballots with mistakes in view of political observers in case they wanted to alert those voters.

In Montgomery County, election officials contacted voters directly about defective ballots and said 49 ballots were cured.

"That's absolutely prohibited under Pennsylvania law, there's no way to do that. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania recognized that in the case, that's the leading case in Pennsylvania, that's now up in the U.S. Supreme Court," said attorney Tom King.

King is suing Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar on behalf of a number of Republican candidates claiming she "issued guidance in contravention of the Election Code."

RELATED: Election 2020: Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, voting results for local elections

The lawsuits says, "the Pennsylvania Supreme Court stated that, 'mail-in or absentee voters are not provided any opportunity to cure perceived defects in a timely manner'" and doing so "creates a high risk of jeopardizing the integrity of the November 3, 2020 general election."

"What we hope to accomplish is to have the secretary of the Commonwealth comply with the laws of Pennsylvania and stop rewriting the election code," he said.

Boockvar said she cannot talk about active litigation. However when asked about the lawsuit she had this to say:

"We will make sure every vote is counted. Every eligible voter has the right to cast their vote," she said.

Montgomery County election officials said it has now segregated those cured ballots while it waits for the outcome of the lawsuit. They also said, "We believe our process is sound and permissible under the Election Code."

Montgomery County Full Statement:

Kathy Barnette, a candidate for Congress, has filed a motion with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania challenging certain procedures used by the Montgomery County Board of Election during the intake of mail-in ballots, and to notify electors of any potential issues that were identified in the intake process. We believe our process is sound and permissible under the Election Code.

All voters with defective ballots will not be contacted because we do not have contact information for all voters. For those that we do, we reached out to make them aware of the issues. Of those who we reached out to, 49 cured their ballots. Those are the ballots being segregated while we wait for the outcome of the complaint.