State Rep. Tina Davis filed a petition in Bucks County court Monday asking a judge to decide whether up to 216 absentee ballots received after the state deadline should be added to the final general election tallies.
Davis, a Democrat from Bristol Township’s Croydon section, ran for the Six Senate District against incumbent Republican State Sen. Tommy Tomlinson. In results released last week, Davis lost by only 74 votes but she has not yet conceded over concerns that not every vote was counted.
The petition filed in Doylestown states the final vote counts contain an error due to the votes cast by those who mailed in the absentee ballots that were not tallied because they arrived after Pennsylvania’s deadline of Friday, November 2. The election was held four days later on Tuesday, November 6. Overseas and military absentee ballots were due on Tuesday, November 13.
Davis’ filing cites issues with delays with the mail, including the closure of the Croydon U.S. Postal Service branch. It also makes arguments relating to Pennsylvania having the earliest absentee ballot receipt deadline of any state in the country, claims that the state policy causes the disenfranchisement of voters, allegations of equal protection provision violations, burdens on the fundamental right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, and access to the overdue ballots.
Davis’ petition follows an ACLU lawsuit that is backed by nine plaintiffs whose ballots were not counted due to the state deadline.
Adam Bonin, Davis’ attorney, wrote in Davis’ filing that the state’s deadline makes it “logistically impossible” for some voters to return their ballots to the county in time to be counted.
The petition cites five voters who had trouble with absentee ballots. A hospitalized resident from Levittown reportedly received her absentee ballot in the mail the day it was due and a 75-year-old Fairless Hills woman stated she received her ballot in the mail also on the day it was due. A woman from Northampton said she received her absentee ballot days after the deadline and a Langhorne man said election officials told him they never received his absentee ballot via mail.
“The burden on these absentee voters is particularly acute because Pennsylvania does not have in-person early voting, and absentee voting is restricted to only those electors who cannot vote in person at their polling place on Election Day for certain specified reasons. In short, these are voters who cannot vote in person on Election Day and therefore have no other option but to vote absentee, and because of Pennsylvania’s early absentee ballot receipt deadline are deprived of their only available option to cast a ballot,” Bonin wrote.
A county judge is set to hold a hearing on the petition next Monday morning.