Pennsylvania's top court deals blow to GOP by tossing signature-matching rule

Pennsylvania's top court deals blow to GOP by tossing signature-matching rule

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Friday ruled that mail ballots cannot be discarded based on a perceived mismatch between signatures appearing on a voter's application and their actual ballot.

The unanimous ruling was a blow for the Trump campaign and Republican National Committee, which had pushed for a strict matching requirement in the key battleground state that President TrumpDonald TrumpUkraine's president compares UN to 'a retired superhero' Collins to endorse LePage in Maine governor comeback bid Heller won't say if Biden won election MORE won in 2016 by fewer than 45,000 votes.

The decision came in response to a request by Pennsylvania’s Democratic Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar for clarity on the Keystone State’s mail ballot rule. The decision resolved a simmering conflict between Boockvar and the Trump campaign, with the court favoring Boockvar’s interpretation of Pennsylvania’s election code.


“[We] hold that county boards of elections are prohibited from rejecting absentee or mail-in ballots based on signature comparison conducted by county election officials or employees, or as the result of third-party challenges based on signature analysis and comparisons,” the court wrote.

The ruling was the second major court victory out of Pennsylvania this week for Democratic allies and voting rights advocates.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court deadlocked 4-4, which left intact Pennsylvania’s court-ordered extension for mail ballots. As a result, mail ballots must be accepted as long as they are postmarked by Nov. 3 — or have no legible postmark — and received up to three days after Election Day.