SUMMARY: The debate about the Supreme Court and the Presidential Election just became real. Judge Barrett will be the deciding vote on Pennsylvania's Electoral College, and Pennsylvania may very well be the final swing state to report results of the election. That means that Judge Barrett will cast the deciding vote that may determine the next president. In that case, should 5% of the mail in ballot be disqualified, Biden could lose PA and the election.
HERE'S HOW AND WHY:
I don't like these kinds of super-hypothetical conversations normally, but we need to look at the following.
1) As my previous post showed, we will know the results on Nov 4., unless AZ, GA, FL and NC all swing to Trump. Since he won them in the past election and they are traditionally Republican, this is a very possible scenario. According to that earlier post, PA becomes the last relevant reporting state in that case, because their law requires late counting of mail in ballots and the state has only limited experience with mail in voting in the past. Well, things just got worse. A federal court ruled recently that the PA elections commission may, in the interest of maximizing fairness and avoiding postal problems, accept all ballots postmarked by Nov. 3 rather than following the PA statute of ballots being received by Nov. 3. The lawsuit quite legitimately challenges that ruling in favor of the statue.
2) Yesterday the US Supreme Court ruled 4-4 NOT to take up the case, thereby leaving the lower ruling in place as a result of the tie caused by Justice's Ginsberg's empty seat. Voting to leave the lower ruling in place, and thereby expand the number of mail in ballots that will count, were the 3 liberals and Chief Justice John Roberts. The four Conservatives on the bench all wished to receive the case with the understanding that they would enforce the PA statute and forbid the counting of ballots received after Nov. 3.
3) As my last post showed, mail in ballots are strongly in favor of Biden nationwide, and it is no different in PA. Increasing or decreasing the number of mail in ballots counted will increase or decrease the vote for Biden. If the Conservatives were to enforce the statute, the Democrats will lose ground in PA for sure.
4) Justice Barrett will be sworn in before Election Day.
5) So, when, not if, Justice Barrett joins the court and the lawsuit arrives, she will certainly vote to overturn the lower court. All mail in ballots received after Nov 3 will be disallowed, and Biden's numbers will go down.
6) Will it matter? Absolutely yes. In 2016, Trump received 2,970,733 votes in PA and Clinton had 2,926,441, or a difference of 44,292. 5% of the mail in ballots breaks down to 87,797 Democrats versus 33,619 Republicans, or an advantage of +54,178 for Biden. If the Barrett breaks the tie, and 5% of the mail in ballots are disqualified, Biden could lose over 50,000 votes in PA, which is more than the margin of victory for Trump in 2016.
Here's the breakdown:
Democrats hold an overall lead in registered voters and nearly a 3:1 lead in mail in ballots requested. Of the 2,7 million mail in ballots requested, nearly a quarter had been received by Oct 16. Will people wait until the last minute?
Total voter registration per PA Dept. of State on Oct.16
Total approved mail-in and absentee applications statewide