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A Nov. 1 ruling from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has no effect on the outcome of previous elections, including 2020.
The order states that absentee or mail-in ballots received in "undated" and/or "incorrectly dated" outer envelopes will not be counted for the Nov. 8 election.
Former President Donald Trump again claimed the election he lost in 2020 was "rigged," this time saying a recent ruling on ballot tabulation in Pennsylvania backs him up.
"So the Pennsylvania Supreme Court just ruled, in effect, that the 2020 Presidential Election was Rigged," Trump wrote on Truth Social on Nov. 3, "but they’ll let that result stand, however, in future Elections, you are no longer allowed to do what was done in the 2020 Election. Is that fair, or even legal. This decision represents far more votes than would have been needed to win Pennsylvania. What a SCAM!"
A Nov. 3 Instagram post features a screenshot of the Truth Social update. (Trump was banned from Facebook and Instagram after the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riot.) The post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)
Trump’s claim is wrong.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Nov. 1 ruling says county boards of elections are not allowed to count any absentee or mail-in ballots that are contained in "undated" or "incorrectly dated" outer envelopes.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the court's decision led to widespread confusion among elections administrators about how to determine an incorrect date.
So, on Nov. 5, the court issued a supplementary ruling.
This order clarified the acceptable window of dates written on outer envelopes. For envelopes carrying mail-in ballots, handwritten dates before Sept. 19 or after Nov. 8 should be rejected. For absentee votes, envelopes with handwritten dates before Aug. 30 or after Nov. 8 should also be rejected.
As we have reported, Pennsylvania’s acting Secretary of the Commonwealth Leigh Chapman provided guidance to county election supervisors in September that said undated or incorrectly dated ballots should be counted as long as they were received by Election Day.
State and national Republican groups challenged that guidance, which led to the Supreme Court stepping in Nov. 1.
The Pennsylvania Department of State said in a statement that it was reviewing the order, adding "the order underscores the importance of the state’s consistent guidance that voters should carefully follow all instructions on their mail ballot and double-check it before returning it. " The department issued new guidance to counties about segregating the undated or incorrectly dated ballots.
The two-page order published by the state Supreme Court does not negate or affect official results from the 2020 general election, as Trump falsely claimed. It applies to the upcoming election taking place Nov. 8.
On Nov. 5, the Pennsylvania Department of State sent a survey to county election officials asking them to report by the end of the day Nov. 7 how many undated and incorrectly dated ballots they had, and by party. During a press conference, Chapman said the state doesn’t have a way to collect that data unless the counties provide it.
President Joe Biden defeated Trump in Pennsylvania by taking 50.1% of the vote, according to official results from the Pennsylvania Department of State.
We rate Trump’s misinterpretation of the order Pants on Fire!
PolitiFact staff writer Amy Sherman contributed to this report.
Pennsylvania Supreme Court, opinion, accessed Nov. 4, 2022
Pennsylvania Supreme Court, supplementary opinion, accessed Nov. 7, 2022
Truth Social, post by @realDonaldTrump, Nov. 1, 2022
The Philadelphia Inquirer, "Pa. Supreme Court orders counties to set aside undated and wrongly dated mail ballots and not count them," Nov. 1, 2022
The Philadelphia Inquirer, "The Pa. Supreme Court has issued a second order on mail ballot dates as the legal fight continues," Nov. 5, 2022
Pennsylvania Department of State, "Elections - Summary Results for 2020 General Election," accessed Nov. 4, 2022
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