Current News



Chester County judge denies county GOP request that could have blocked some ballots

Katie Bernard, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in News & Features

PHILADELPHIA — A Chester County judge rejected a legal motion from local Republicans that could have blocked some mail ballots from counting in Tuesday’s Pennsylvania primary.

Chester County County Court of Common Pleas Judge Anthony Verwey said the Republican Committee of Chester County’s request for an injunction against the county election board would amount to “preemptively disenfranchising voters.”

The lawsuit, filed Thursday, claimed that in 2023 the county had incorrectly interpreted the state’s mail ballot law with regards to ballot collected from a long-term care facility.

The law limits ballot returns on behalf of disabled voters to one per person unless all the voters are in the same household. The law, the GOP committee argued, clearly explains that long-term care facilities should not be considered a single household meaning residents cannot use the same staff member or volunteer to return their ballots.

The local GOP had asked the judge to issue a preliminary injunction blocking the county from counting ballots in these cases.

“The injunction proposed in this matter would disenfranchise and, therefore, harm voters who are unable to submit their ballots on their own and have already provided their mail-in ballot to a designated agent,” Verwey said in his ruling which denied the preliminary injunction while the broader lawsuit progresses.


Chester County said Pennsylvania case law gives the power to determine what constitutes a household to the election board and that a long-term care facility could reasonably be determined to be one as residents share the same address.

The party also wanted the judge to force the county to allow Republican committee people on the ballot to act as poll watchers, as they have in previous elections. Verwey said the party had not proved anyone would be harmed by policy blocking committee people on the ballot from serving.

In a statement Chester County GOP chair Raffi Terzian expressed frustration with the ruling and said it reflected a “double standard” against Republicans.

“We are disappointed, and quite frankly surprised, with the outcome of the ruling today,” Terzian said. “During this election cycle, with all eyes on Pennsylvania, it should be of paramount interest to all voters that there be fairness in the electoral process and this is precisely what we asked for today.”

©2024 The Philadelphia Inquirer, LLC. Visit at Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


blog comments powered by Disqus