Cases September 20, 2022

McCormick v. Chapman – Dating of Mail-in Ballots (PA)

Issue Areas

On May 23, 2022, U.S. Senate candidate David McCormick filed a petition for review against Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth Leigh Chapman and the election boards of 60 counties arguing that absentee and mail-in-ballots lacking handwritten dates on the outer return envelope should be counted in the Senate primary election. 

A few days before the lawsuit was filed, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled that ballots lacking a handwritten date cast in a judicial election in Lehigh County must be counted. 

Acting Secretary Chapman argued that rejecting ballots lacking a handwritten date violates the Civil Rights Act–as determined by the Third Circuit–is inconsistent with Pennsylvania’s Election Code and implicates the Pennsylvania Constitution’s Free Elections Clause.   

States United served as pro bono counsel to Acting Secretary Chapman and is co-counsel with the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General.  

Latest Update

On March 31, the Commonwealth Court held a hearing on McCormick’s request for a special injunction.  On June 2, the Commonwealth Court granted McCormick’s request and ordered counties to count the ballots at issue but maintain separate results—one with the ballots lacking a handwritten date included and one without, pending a final decision on the merits. The Republican committees that intervened in the case appealed this decision, but then withdrew their appeal after McCormick conceded the election. 

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