PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it would not grant a quick, pre-election review to a new Republican appeal to exclude Pennsylvania absentee ballots received after Election Day.
But the court’s order left open the possibility that the justices could take up and decide after the voting whether a three-day extension to receive and count absentee ballots ordered by the state’s high court was proper. The issue would take on enormous importance if Pennsylvania turns out to be the crucial state in next week’s election and the votes received between Nov. 3 and Nov. 6 are potentially decisive.
Earlier Wednesday, the state agreed to segregate ballots received in the mail after polls close on Tuesday and before 5 p.m. on Nov. 6.
New Justice Amy Coney Barrett did not take part in the vote “because of the need for a prompt resolution of it and because she has not had time to fully review the parties’ filings,” court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said in an email.
Justice Samuel Alito, writing for three justices, indicated he would support the high court’s eventual review of the issue. But, he wrote, “I reluctantly conclude that there is simply not enough time at this late date to decide the question before the election.”
Last week, the justices divided 4-4, a tie vote that allowed the three-day extension ordered by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to remain in effect.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro released the following statement about the order: “We applaud the Court’s decision to slow down, get to regular order, and let Pennsylvania have an election. Now we must vote and take time to count all eligible ballots. The denial of expedited review is good for Pennsylvania voters, who will not have the rules changed on them on the eve of the election without proper review. We know this fight may not be over and we are prepared. The Commonwealth has taken careful steps to ensure all eligible Pennsylvania votes will be counted and to stave off further anticipated legal challenges. We call on all voters to submit their mail-in ballots to a drop box or county election office as soon as possible. Pennsylvania is on pace for a record-setting level of participation in this historic election.”
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