Count every vote: Provisional ballots in Delaware County


We ask a judge to order the Delaware County Board of Elections to count our clients’ votes in a motion for judgement on the pleadings

July 7, 2023 – Our clients in a May 25 lawsuit against the Delaware County Board of Elections, three long-time senior voters, submitted provisional ballots in the May 16 primary after being notified that their mail-in ballots would not be counted. They were disenfranchised when the board, relying on an unpublished  court decision that misinterpreted PA election law, decided not to count their provisional ballots as well. Pennsylvania’s rules for provisional ballots, we assert, are clear and consistent, and our clients’ vote should count.

Affirming Pennsylvania’s rules for provisional ballots, and assuring that they remain a crucial safety net for voters, is vital to our electoral system. In Pennsylvania’s November 2022 general election, 16,000 mail-in ballots were rejected due to mistakes on voter declarations—a missing secrecy envelope, a missing signature, or a missing date.

Today, with co-counsel from ACLU-PA, we filed a motion for judgement on the pleadings, asking the Delaware County court of common pleas judge to rule in our favor and order the board to count our clients’ votes. Read the filing here.

The board does not dispute that our clients are eligible voters, or that their mail-in ballots were rejected, and the majority of board members agree that their provisional ballots should be counted—they have asked that the court rule in our favor. In today’s motion, we describe the flaws in the Commonwealth Court case the board felt bound by, In re Allegheny County Provisional Ballots in the 2020 General Election.

“The Board did not believe that it had reached a just result and has urged the Court to order the counting of Petitioners’ provisional ballots—the same relief Petitioners request,” we write, “This Court should decline to follow In re Allegheny County and require the Board to count Petitioners’ provisional ballots.”