How ‘Naked Ballots’ Could Become Pennsylvania’s ‘Hanging Chads’

Jonathan Lai, reporting for The Philadelphia Inquirer:

The state Supreme Court in Pennsylvania, a critical battleground state that’s seen as increasingly likely to determine who wins the White House, last week ordered officials to throw out “naked ballots” — mail ballots that arrive without inner “secrecy envelopes.” Pennsylvania uses a two-envelope mail ballot system: A completed ballot goes into a “secrecy envelope” that has no identifying information, and then into a larger mailing envelope that the voter signs.

It’s unclear how many naked ballots there will be, because this is the first year any Pennsylvania voter can vote by mail, and most counties counted them in the June primary without tracking how many there were.

“Naked ballots” sound like fun in general, but in this case, they sound like a hold-your-breath potential nightmare in the making. This is seen as a potential problem for Democrats because, thanks to you-know-whose drumbeat of anti-mail-voting nonsense, there’s a huge partisan split in Pennsylvania regarding who plans to vote by mail. I voted by mail in the primary in June, and the instructions are pretty clear about putting your ballot in the unmarked secret envelope, which in turn goes into the outer envelope that you sign and return. But it would be a lot simpler and inherently more error proof if there were just one envelope — or if ballots were counted regardless of whether they were placed in the “secrecy envelope”. It’s really a privacy envelope for the voter, so the fact that they voted can be verified by someone who doesn’t get to see who they voted for, not a measure of election integrity.

Anyway, spread the word about these “secrecy envelopes” to anyone you know in Pennsylvania. Mail voting is new here, so it’s best to make people widely aware of this rule. The other election-related rulings from our state supreme court were good news for the franchise, though:

The decision ordering them thrown out was part of a trio of rulings Thursday that, among other things, extended the deadline for voters to send mail ballots back, permitted the use of drop boxes for voters to return them, and removed the Green Party’s presidential ticket from the ballot.

Wednesday, 23 September 2020