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Pa. Supreme Court allows 3-day extension for ballots

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has resolved six uncertainties about the presidential election Nov. 3. In a trio of decisions handed down Sept. 17, the court made new rulings.

A three-day extension was granted for mail-in and absentee ballots mailed by 8 p.m. Election Day, Nov. 3. The ballots will be counted as long as they are received by 5 p.m. Nov. 6. It has been estimated 3 million votes will be mailed, twice the number in the primary.

The court directed the removal of Green Party candidates for president and vice president. Election officials in Lehigh and Northampton counties may now start printing ballots, which will be going out no later than the first week in October.

The ruling authorized the use of drop boxes in which voters can hand deliver their ballots. Lehigh and Northampton counties both maintain drop boxes at their government centers.

The argument that would require county elections offices to contact voters who send in ballots without the required voter’s declaration was rejected. Northampton and Lehigh counties have both attempted to contact voters who made this mistake in the primary.

The court ruled “naked ballots” - i.e., ballots a voter fails to place inside a secrecy envelope included with the ballot - must be rejected.

Poll watchers, appointed by the parties or candidates, must be residents of the polling location’s county.