The U.S. Supreme Court has let a ruling on mail-in voting stand in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court had extended the deadline for mail-in votes in the November election, which allows ballots that arrive three days after election day to be counted.
The Court’s decision was a blow to the GOP and gives the Democrats a win in the Keystone State, which is an important swing state with 20 electoral votes at stake.
Republicans argued that the state court ruling violated the U.S. Constitution by bypassing the state legislature and by extending the election past Election Day.
Democrats said those arguments were without merit, stating the pandemic created extraordinary circumstances, and have attempted to extend ballot counting periods and ease mail-in voting by lifting certain requirements that would make ballots valid.
The Supreme Court split in a 4 to 4 tie, with conservative Justice John Roberts siding the three liberal justices to uphold the state court ruling.
Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh all stated that they would have granted Republicans’ request for a stay. The remaining court justices offered no explanation for their decision.
Under court rules, a majority of the voting justices would be needed to grant a stay. But in an evenly divided court, the action by the last lower court remains in effect.