Under Pa.'s 87 year old election code, absentee ballots must be returned to the elections office by 5 pm on the Friday before the election. Absentee ballots received after that time are excluded, even if received before the election. Should that law be relaxed? State Rep. Tina Davis thinks so. In nearby Bucks County, she lost a state senate race against incumbent Sen. “Tommy” Tomlinson by a scant 74 votes. Because at least 216 absentee ballots went uncounted, she claimed her constitutional rights were violated. A Bucks County judge named Jeffrey Davis, not to be confused with Jefferson Davis, disagrees. He dismissed the lawsuit.
This question is the subject of a lawsuit by the ACLU. I understand there's a public interest in ensuring that every vote is counted. But in my view, there is an equally important public interest in a swift and certain count. When there are delays, as happened in Florida, public confidence in the entire system is undermined.