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Court denies attempt at stay for extension

The Supreme Court of the United States has denied a request for a stay of a Pa. Supreme Court order that extends the deadline for mail-in ballots to be accepted in the upcoming general election.

The state Supreme Court ruling was announced last month and addressed several issues.

The case was brought by state Democrats in response to a federal campaign brought by the Trump campaign. The Warren County Board of Elections was a named defendant.

A Republican Party challenge in the U.S. Supreme Court specifically targets the state court’s decision to grant a three-day extension — all mail-in and absentee ballots postmarked by 8 p.m. on election day and received by the county boards of elections by Nov. 6 — will be counted.

The Republican Party of Pennsylvania sought a stay from the nation’s highest court and the court responded to that request on Monday, denying the request in a two-sentence order.

“The application for stay presented to Justice Alito and by him referred to the Court is denied,” the order states. “Justice Thomas, Justice Alito, Justice Gorsuch, and Justice Kavanaugh would grant the application.”

That means Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the court’s three liberal justices to deny the stay in a 4-4 vote.

“We are fully cognizant that a balance must be struck between providing voters ample time to request mail-in ballots, while also building enough flexibility into the election timeline to guarantee that ballot has time to travel through the USPS delivery system to ensure that the completed ballot can be counted in the election,” the state court found.

“Moreover, the effects of the pandemic threatened the disenfranchisement of thousands of Pennsylvanians during the 2020 Primary, when several of the Commonwealth’s county election boards struggled to process the flow of mail-in ballot applications for voters who sought to avoid exposure to the virus.”

The state Supreme Court found that the current deadlines “cannot be met by the USPS’s current delivery standards,” resulting in a system that will“unquestionably fail under the strain of COVID-19 and the 2020 Presidential Election.”

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