Most people probably didn’t even realize that the weird lawsuits contending the 2020 election results were still ongoing, but alas — until recently, they were. The United States Supreme Court finally shut down the last Pennsylvania lawsuit after a Republican congressional candidate’s appeal fell flat. The lawsuit challenged the state’s mail-ballot deadlines, like many other failed legal challenges had already done.
The ruling doesn’t change the outcome of the election — or even the outcome of where Pennsylvania state’s electors were to be assigned — and so the Supreme Court ruled that the case should be dismissed as moot. That means Pennsylvania can finally finish the very big job of counting 10,000 mail-in votes that didn’t arrive until after Election Day.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court had previously extended the deadline for mail-in ballots until three days after Election Day. Republicans have routinely argued that counting should end on Election Day, even though that’s never how it’s actually worked. The rules don’t change just because we didn’t have a result like we usually do. And of course mail-in ballots generally favor Democrats — especially since then-president Trump told his supporters to vote in person and not by mail — and so of course Republicans would want to challenge the results.
One of the most obvious outcomes of the outright dismissal is that future legal challenges related to election results can be litigated without biased precedent affecting the verdict.
Right now, hundreds of legislative changes are in the queue to restrict how and when people are allowed to vote. These changes sometimes make voting more secure, but primarily they seem to restrict the ability of people of color to cast a vote.
Pennsylvania Department of State spokesperson Wanda Murren said, “We are pleased that yet another court ruling has affirmed the accuracy and integrity of Pennsylvania’s November 2020 election. Pennsylvanians can be proud of the work done in every county election office to ensure that every voter’s ballot was cast and counted fairly.”