The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday sided with an unsuccessful Republican candidate for a judgeship in Pennsylvania and threw out a lower court's ruling that had allowed the counting of mail-in ballots in the race that he had sought to exclude because voters neglected to write the date on them.
The justices vacated the ruling by the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals as requested by David Ritter, who lost his 2021 bid for a spot on the Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas to a Democratic rival by five votes after 257 absentee ballots without date notations were counted.
The high court's action means that the 3rd Circuit ruling cannot be used as a precedent in the three states covered by this regional federal appellate court - Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware - to allow the counting of ballots with minor flaws such as the voter failing to fill in the date. Vacating the ruling does not change Ritter's loss in his race.