Last Updated on October 6, 2020
The US Supreme Court has issued a stay that reinstates a legislated requirement that all absentee and mail-in ballots include the signature of a witness to the affirmation of the ballot.
Democrats had sought, through the courts, to invalidate a law that has been on the books since 1953 requiring a witness to every ballot that was to be returned to election authorities through the US mail or other delivery mechanism.
But the Supreme Court ruled, in part, that lower courts cannot encroach on the legislatures right to craft and implement election law.
Writing for the High Court, Justice Kavanaugh wrote, “[T]his Court has repeatedly emphasized that federal courts ordinarily should not alter state election rules in the period close to an election…By enjoining South Carolina’s witness requirement shortly before the election, the District Court defied that principle and this Court’s precedents.”
The stay is pending an appeal to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, which means it could very well end up back before the Supreme Court before the November election.
JUST IN: the Supreme Court reinstates the witness requirement for mail-in ballots in South Carolina. A lower court put that requirement on hold, citing the pandemic. Mail-in ballots cast and received within two days of this order may still be counted. #SCOTUS pic.twitter.com/Ds5Ttl1Har
— Kevin Daley 🏛 (@KevinDaleyDC) October 6, 2020
The verbiage used by Kavanaugh – which found no opposition from the other justices – also indicates that the High Court may be set to kneecap lower courts from rewriting election rules and especially so close to the election. This would serve as a major blow to local Democrat parties that have sought to manipulate election law this election cycle.
The Court’s ruling had caveats for ballots that have already been cast. Any ballots that have already been cast “and received within two days of this order may not be rejected for failing to comply with the witness requirement.” More than 18,000 absentee ballots have been returned, according to South Carolina’s election commission.
“Despite the Democrats’ efforts to hijack a pandemic and use it to meddle with our election laws, they’ve lost,” Drew McKissick, South Carolina Republican Party Chairman said in a statement. “We’re pleased the Supreme Court reinstated the witness signature requirement and recognized its importance in helping to prevent election fraud.”
State Democrat Party Chair Trav Robertson opted to fearmonger, saying, “Our hope is that no one gets COVID-19 trying to find a witness.”