After a split decision by the United States Supreme Court on Monday, election officials in Pennsylvania will be allowed to count postal votes for three days after the 2020 presidential election.
The move is seen as a blow to Republicans, who had asked the Supreme Court to overturn part of a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling that would allow postmarked ballots to be counted before the November 3. Republicans opposed the decision on the grounds that allowing ballots to be counted after election day would violate a federal law that set the date of election day as the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. The Supreme Court ruling is expected to delay the final tally of Pennsylvania election results.
No comments were released with the Supreme Court ruling, but Conservative Justice John Roberts agreed with Liberal Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elana Kagan, effectively dividing the Supreme Court ruling. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh have said they are in favor of the stay. Five votes are needed for the Supreme Court to approve a suspension.
Newsweek has contacted the Pennsylvania GOP for comment.
Pennsylvania Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro called the Supreme Court ruling a “huge victory for Pennsylvania” in a tweet Monday. “Trump’s losing streak continues,” Shapiro wrote, “this time in SCOTUS. Now let’s have an election.”
Pennsylvania is of historical significance to President Donald Trump. Trump won the state by less than one percent in the 2016 election, but that was enough for him to win the state’s 20 electoral votes. Trump became president after winning the electoral college, although his opponent Democrat Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in the United States by 2.1%.
Trump alleged during a September campaign event in Pennsylvania that the Democratic ticket of candidate Joe Biden and his running mate, California Senator Kamala Harris, would only win Pennsylvania if they “cheated on ballots “.
Trump has claimed that the mail ballots could brand this year’s presidential election results as fraudulent. Many states have decided to send ballots to all registered voters due to the coronavirus pandemic. In Pennsylvania, postal ballots can be requested by any registered voter without giving a reason. These ballots can be mailed through the United States Postal Service, dropped off at polling stations in Pennsylvania, or placed in designated drop boxes across the state on Election Day.
The state of Swing, Pennsylvania represents a close race for the two presidential candidates. In a Reuters / Ipsos poll released on Monday, Biden was ahead 49% while Trump collected 45%. When the same question was asked last week, Biden had 51% of voter support, while Trump had 44%.
The survey was carried out from October 13 to 19 on a pool of 1,001 adults and had a margin of error of 4%. Of the total number of respondents, 653 were likely voters.