Matthew Haverstick, Managing Partner and a member of the Firm’s Litigation Department, was quoted in the Philadelphia Inquirer on Pennsylvania’s decision to sue Berks, Fayette, and Lancaster Counties in Commonwealth Court for refusing to count undated mail ballots in the Pennsylvania Primary Election and the weaknesses in the state’s electoral system. The three counties refused to count undated ballots, which were received on time but were missing a date as required by law. In 2020, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that counties should reject undated ballots, however in a case regarding November’s election in Lehigh County, a federal appeals court ruled that throwing out ballots for being undated violates federal civil rights law. The election department now must find a way to establish constancies across the counties and determine how the 2020 law interacts with state and federal rulings.
Haverstick, who represents elected officials and those in the running, agrees that counties should generally have the same policies and acknowledged that counties are doing their best to make the decisions. He also noted that the state is at fault for not doing more to ensure uniformity.
“The crisis is this is a problem that, unless it’s corrected, is going to repeat. And it’s not fair for voters,” Haverstick said. “The county in which one votes shouldn’t determine how closely you have to hew to following the election code, and this needs to be fixed.”
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