The Supreme Court handed down an odd order Wednesday that appears, at least at first glance, to be a victory for voting rights. The Court ruled that it will not decide — yet — whether to reverse a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision ensuring that many ballots mailed before Election Day but arriving after the election will be counted.
Dig down just a little bit, however, and the order isn’t the win for voting rights that it seems to be. An opinion by Justice Samuel Alito, joined by two other justices, suggests the Court may still order an unknown number of ballots tossed out after next week’s election is over .In other words, the Court may have just rejected the Pennsylvania GOP’s latest attempt to throw out mail-in ballots that arrive up to three days after Election Day — but Alito’s opinion reserves the right to revisit the case after the votes are counted and the election is close.
“I reluctantly conclude that there is simply not enough time at this late date to decide the question before the election,” Alito wrote in his opinion. Nevertheless, he added that the case “remains before us” and could be decided “under a shortened schedule” after the election takes place. The upshot of Alito’s opinion: Pennsylvania will conduct its election. Ballots that arrive before Election Day will most likely be counted. But ballots that arrive during the three-day window that follows may still be tossed out.
Full story at Vox