By Robert Willmann
Pending in the U.S. Supreme Court is a document asking the court to hear and decide whether the changes to voting procedures ordered by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court are legal and constitutional. Yesterday, the Trump campaign organization filed a request for leave to intervene and become a party to the effort to get the Supreme Court to agree to hear the case. . A response by the Pennsylvania Democratic Party and other opposing parties is due by 5:00 p.m. today, 5 November.
The day before the election, we discussed here on SST the activity that occurred in the Supreme Court last week about the presidential election, including what was directed at the situation in Pennsylvania . The "statement" by Supreme Court Judges Alito, Thomas, and Gorsuch about possible review of the Pennsylvania case is available in that article in note 4. The three judges made it very clear that: "… the Court's denial of the motion to expedite is not a denial of a request for this Court to order that ballots received after election day be segregated so that if the State Supreme Court's decision is ultimately overturned, a targeted remedy will be available". Realizing that the petitioner, the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, would ask for that relief, Pennsylvania hurriedly gave "guidance" to the county boards of election to segregate mail-in and civilian absentee ballots received after 8:00 p.m. on election day . The Pennsylvania Supreme Court had rewritten the election law that was established by the legislature of that state, which had required the ballots to be received by 8:00 p.m. But the court changed the law and the deadlines.
The 63-page majority opinion by four of the seven Pennsylvania judges concluded that–
"… a three-day extension of the absentee and mail-in ballot received-by deadline is adopted such that ballots mailed by voters via the United States Postal Service and postmarked by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day , November 3, 2020, shall be counted if they are otherwise valid and received by the county boards of election on or before 5:00 p.m. on November 6, 2020; ballots received within this period that lack a postmark or other proof of mailing, or for which the postmark or other proof of mailing is illegible, will be presumed to have been mailed by Election Day unless a preponderance of the evidence demonstrates that it was mailed after Election Day; …."
The "guidance" given to the county boards in Pennsylvania is for "mail-in and civilian absentee ballots". Whether that description excludes some other types of ballots is not clear. (Update: It now seems as if some types of ballots received after the election deadline might not be segregated, such as military and overseas ballots.)
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia County Board of Elections has asked the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to reverse a lower court's order allowing observers of election counting to watch from six feet away. The Trump campaign filed an answer objecting to any change. The Pennsylvania Democratic Party said it will not file an answer to the petition by the Board of Elections.
At this time, the case getting the closest to Supreme Court review is the one from Pennsylvania. Whether there will be an attempt to have the Supreme Court get involved in the North Carolina case, which also involved extending deadlines, is not yet known.
UPDATE, 5:47 p.m. central time. Responses were filed in the Supreme Court by the Pennsylvania Secretary of State, who opposes letting the Trump campaign intervene, and by the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, which does not oppose the Trump campaign becoming a party, but says it would be premature to do so at this time .
 The Trump campaign asks to intervene in the Pennsylvania case
 A letter and instructions filed by Pennsylvania in the U.S. Supreme Court about segregating some ballots in that state
 Responses filed by the Pennsylvania Secretary of State and the Pennsylvania Democratic Party