The Bucks County Board of Elections decided on Monday to count undated and incorrectly dated mail-in and absentee ballots from the November 7 election.
The unanimous decision follows a November 21 ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. The court found that rejecting ballots based on envelope dates violated the Civil Rights Act.
Federal Judge Susan Baxter emphasized that the envelope’s date is irrelevant to the ballot’s validity. She cited the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and stated technicalities should not lead to ballot rejection.
After the vote, Bucks County election officials processed over 250 previously excluded ballots and incorporated them into the unofficial election results. These included 141 undated ballots, 119 with incorrect dates, and one military/overseas ballot without a date.
Bucks County Chief Clerk and Deputy COO Gail Humphrey, who oversees the Board of Elections, praised the decision.
“We know when we create and then mail the ballots out to voters for each election, and are required by the state to record when the voted ballots are returned to us. That their timeliness was ever in doubt is nonsensical,” she said.
Earlier in the month, the Board of Elections – made up of Bucks County Court of Common Pleas Judges Jordan Yeager, Stephen Corr, and Charissa Liller – initially voted against counting these ballots. The decision was based on a state Supreme Court ruling and state law. However, they reconsidered following the federal court’s decision.
The issue of counting undated and misdated ballots in Pennsylvania has been contentious since the expansion of mail-in voting in 2020.