These are two groundbreaking decisions handed down by the United States Supreme Court a few days ago. The Supreme Court rejected a Republican motion to shorten the deadline for postal ballots in the controversial state of Pennsylvania. In addition, a court ruling of another deciding state, North Carolina, was upheld: Postal votes sent with the correct election stamp on election day are valid even if they arrive nine days later. These decisions could become important on November 3.
More than 80 million Americans have already voted
More than 80 million Americans have already voted and the United States is heading for a record turnout. And yet there is concern in the US that many of the votes already cast may not even count in the end. In addition to the so-called “early voting”, the personal voting before the actual election day on November 3, many voters send their vote by mail, ie vote by mail. According to the US Election Project, more than 90 million Americans have signed up to vote by mail – that would be nearly three times as many as in 2016, when 33 million voted by mail.
[Die USA sind im Wahl-Endspurt. Deshalb informieren wir in unserem US-Newsletter „Twenty/Twenty“ nun täglich über die Geschehnisse in den Vereinigten Staaten. Zum kostenlosen Abo geht es hier.]
This is a major logistical challenge, especially for the US Post. In some states, the mail can no longer keep up with letter delivery, according to a report from the Washington Post. In fact, there have always been cases of irregularities in postal voting. For example, cases have become known in New York and Ohio where thousands of incorrect ballots have been delivered, in some cases ballots have been requested that took a long time at all. Joe Biden’s campaign team is therefore trying to motivate voters to vote in advance.
The US Post can no longer keep up with logistics in some cases because so many Americans have voted by letter Photo: Kevin Mohatt / Reuters
From the moment the votes are counted, the rules are different in the states
Since an above-average number of Americans are voting by mail this year, it may also take longer for all votes to be counted. The rules regarding elections – including when votes may be counted by mail – are different in states and change frequently. Republicans and Democrats are trying to change the rules for their own benefit. Trump has been voting against the postal vote for months – and now also against a counting process that goes beyond Nov. 3. “Major problems and discrepancies with election letters across the US. Should have the final result on November 3, ” the president tweeted Monday, previously speaking of mass voting fraud by mail.
More about the US election campaign:
However, his allegations are unfounded, despite irregularities in postal voting. FBI chief Christopher Wray said at a Senate hearing in September, “We have never historically had any form of coordinated electoral fraud in major elections, be it postal voting or any other form of voting.” That Trump is still against it. is mainly due to the fact that democratic voters in particular vote by mail. But the fact that he now also questions the counting of all votes – even after November 3 – heightens concerns that there will be a wave of lawsuits against ballots being counted and coming in later.
If in doubt about the outcome, the Supreme Court should take action
When in doubt, the Supreme Court should take action. In this context, irritation was caused by a statement by Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, appointed by Trump. On Monday, the Supreme Court rejected an extension of the voting deadline for the state of Wisconsin – unlike Pennsylvania and North Carolina. On the basis of the verdict, Kavanaugh wrote, “States should want to avoid the chaos and suspicion of irregularity that could arise if thousands of votes are received by mail after election day, potentially changing the election outcome.”
“Nothing is more suspicious than the refusal to count votes”
His colleague Elena Kagan disagreed: “There are no results that can be ‘rotated’ until all valid votes have been counted. And nothing could be more “suspicious” or “erratic” than the refusal to count votes when it falls at noon on election day. The Democrats fear that circumstances must intervene in the election and decide. Since Trump nominee Amy Coney Barrett was appointed as a constitutional judge last week, conservative votes in the court have outnumbered six to three. Barrett abstained from the decision in favor of the Pennsylvania and North Carolina expansions. She said that she was not sufficiently familiar with the subject.