The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ordered that any general election ballots that are mailed in undated or incorrectly dated envelopes must be set aside and not counted by election boards.
“We hereby direct that the Pennsylvania county boards of elections segregate and preserve any ballots contained in undated or incorrectly dated outer envelopes,” the court said in a Tuesday order in response to a lawsuit from the Republican National Committee, the Republican Congressional Committee and the Republican Party of Pennsylvania.
In the 3-3 deadlocked order – a spot on the bench remains vacant after the chief justice died – the court acknowledged it was “evenly divided” on whether failing to count the undated or incorrectly dated ballots qualifies as a violation of federal election law. Three justices said they would find a violation of federal law, while three justices said they would find no violation.
The case is the result of the lawsuit brought by state and national Republicans last month that alleged Pennsylvania’s acting secretary of commonwealth was circumventing the General Assembly by telling county boards to count ballots returned in a timely manner, but without a dated envelope.
CNN has reached out to the Pennsylvania secretary of commonwealth’s office for comment.
The two-page order didn’t provide any details about the justices’ reasoning, saying only that opinions would be released later.
“This ruling is a massive victory for Pennsylvania voters and the rule of law,” said RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel in a statement. “Republicans went to court, and now Democrats and all counties have to follow the law: this is a milestone in Republicans’ ongoing efforts to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat in Pennsylvania and nationwide.”
Pennsylvania does not start processing mail-in ballots until Election Day.