Washington: The US Supreme Court has asked elections officials in Pennsylvania to segregated and secure the mail-in ballots received after 8 pm on Election Day.
If required, those ballots be counted separately, Supreme Court Justice Samuel A Alito Jr said in his order on Friday night, acting on a petition filed by the Pennsylvania Chapter of the Republican party.
Pennsylvania, which has 20 electoral college votes, has emerged as the key to the re-election efforts of incumbent President Donald Trump. The president was leading in the state with significant margin, but is now trailing behind by about 20,000 votes, mainly after the counting of mail-in-ballots started.
The Trump campaign has alleged that a significant number of mail-in ballots arrived after the 8 pm deadline of closing of polls on November 3. Trump has demanded that these ballots not be counted. He opposed an earlier ruling by Pennsylvania’s apex court that had ruled that ballots sent before Election Day can be counted if they arrive up to three days after November 3.
The Supreme Court had refused to intervene on two previous occasion. Late Friday night, acting on an emergency petition by GOP Pennsylvania, Justice Alito has sought response from the Secretary of State Pennsylvania by Saturday afternoon.
Judge Alito also directed the state officials to segregate and secure all the ballots that were received after 8 pm on November 3. In case they were counted, they should be counted separately.
The Republican Party and the Trump campaign have filed multiple lawsuits in various courts in soke of the key battleground states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia and Nevada and has demanded recounting of votes in Wisconsin.
Trump has threatened to take the legal battle up to the Supreme Court. He has accused the opposition Democrats of massive voters fraud and electoral malpractice. The Biden campaign and the Democrats have denied all those allegations.