Harrisburg, Pa. -- The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in favor of extending the deadline to count mail-in ballots. Mail-in ballots can now be counted until three days after election day in November.
Members of the Democratic Party brought the case to court as part of an election-related lawsuit seeking to address possible and perceived flaws in the state's mail-in voting polices and infrastructure.
Today, the court ruled in favor of the Democrats by not only allowing mail-in ballots to be counted 3 days following election day but also authorized the use of drop boxes and satellite election offices to help large cities manage the anticipated influx of mail-in votes.
The courts decision came just two days after Governor Tom Wolf called for the legislature to pass quick reforms to ensure voting goes smoothly on election day. Democratic and Republican leaders in the state's general assembly have been stalemated for weeks over disagreements regarding voting for the upcoming election.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court currently has a 5-2 democratic majority.
“Today’s ruling confirms that counties will be able to provide convenient secure options such as additional county election offices and drop boxes to increase accessibility for those who are voting by mail. It also means that ballots postmarked by election day and received by the Friday after the election will be counted," state Governor Wolf and Attorney General Josh Shapiro in a joint statement on the decision.
Republicans, however, have expressed different sentiments.
“Today’s blatantly political decision to violate the law irresponsibly heightens the risk that our state will experience a lengthy, disputed, and controversial outcome in what is expected to be an extremely close presidential race," said U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.)
Pennsylvania Speaker of the House Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) and House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) said the court "has once again normalized the Wolf administration’s disrespect for the Constitution, the rule of law and the voice of the people."
The decision comes just seven weeks before the election, which will take place on Nov. 3.