Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito on Friday ordered election officials across Pennsylvania to segregate mail-in ballots received after Election Day.
Alito temporarily granted a request by the Keystone State’s Republican Party, which said a court order was needed to ensure that all 67 election boards were complying with a directive from Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, the Washington Post reported.
Alito, the justice responsible for the region of the country that covers Pennsylvania, gave state officials until Saturday afternoon to respond, the paper said.
The development marked the latest twist in a legal battle over the counting of mail-in ballots in the crucial swing state.
Last month, the high court upheld a decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to extend the deadline for ballots to arrive until three days past Election Day.
But Boockvar directed that any ballots that came in during that time be set aside because the state GOP was challenging the legality of including them in vote totals.
Last week, the US Supreme Court declined to expedite a hearing in the case.
In emergency court papers filed Friday, Republicans said that “a total of 25 Pennsylvania county boards of elections have not indicated whether they are segregating the late-arriving ballots.”
“If county election boards count and do not segregate late-arriving ballots, it could become impossible for this Court to repair election results tainted by illegally and untimely cast or mailed ballots,” the GOP added.
On Thursday, Boockvar told CNN that various counties had reported “from zero to…about 500 ballots received the day after Election Day.”
“So unless it is super close, I don’t see them making or breaking this [election] one way or another,” she added.
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