At nine o’clock on Monday morning, Dr. Ben Abella drove 30 minutes northeast of Philadelphia to pick up a stranger. The day before, 84-year-old longtime Philadelphia resident Sarah, who has difficulty walking and cannot drive, was told by Philadelphia city commissioners that her mail-in ballot was at risk of being rejected. She was determined to make sure her vote counted, and Abella, who leads Shapiro and Fetterman’s doctors, a group supporting the Democrats Josh Shapiro and John Fetterman for Governor and Senate, respectively – was pushing her to heal her ballot. The deadlocked Pennsylvania State Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Republican National Committee and other GOP-aligned groups last week, ordering election officials to “separate and retain all ballots from votes contained in undated or incorrectly dated outer envelopes”. The decision jeopardized up to 3,500 votes already cast. Sarah is among them.
The decision has major implications for a state where races for governor between Shapiro and Republican Doug Mastriano—and the Senate—between Fetterman and Mehmet Oz—could come down to the thinnest margins. By The Washington Post In recent years, several state judges have ruled that even undated ballots can still be counted. The change in policy set off a frenzy of confusion among voters; With only days to settle their ballots, Pennsylvanians flocked to town halls across the state to tend to their ballots. In Philadelphia, city officials released the names of more than 2,000 voters whose ballots were deemed ineligible. On Monday afternoon, the line of voters seeking to cast their ballots at Philadelphia City Hall stretched down the street.
Abella and other doctors are among the host of volunteers who have stepped up to help constituents like Sarah. “She didn’t know us…. She got into our car. There was a lot of trust going both ways,” Abella said in an interview. “She spoke in the ride about how important voting was to her and how she raised her children to understand that civic engagement was important. And she felt it was awful how many barriers were put in place to be able to vote. From start to finish, it took three hours to cure Sarah’s ballot. another couple said The Washington Post that the process has eaten away at their work day.
What is happening in Pennsylvania is not an isolated phenomenon. Like my colleague, Eric Lutz reported, there are similar Republican-backed lawsuits in other key swing states, including Michigan and Wisconsin. As Lutz writes, major figures in the Republican Party — and former Trump administration leaders — have been explicit about executing a comprehensive strategy to “challenge adverse outcomes and limit Democratic participation in the process.” “.
“If you can eliminate 1% of the votes and they tend to lean towards the Democrats, that gives you that statistical advantage,” Clifford Levine, a Pittsburgh-based election lawyer for Democrats, told the Job. “It’s not about stopping the fraud,” Levine said. “It’s about reducing mail-in ballots. There is simply no question.