Supreme Court Restores Witness Requirement for South Carolina Absentee Ballots

October 6, 2020 by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON – Within hours of the start of its new term on Monday, the Supreme Court revived a South Carolina law that requires absentee ballots to be returned accompanied by a witness’s signature.

Lower courts had set aside the law, holding it interfered with the right to vote during a pandemic.

Though the court as a whole did not explain its rationale for upholding the law, in a concurring opinion Justice Brett Kavanaugh said the conservative majority was correct because state election laws should not be second-guessed by federal judges.

He also noted the Supreme Court has typically refrained from ordering changes to voting procedures so close to an election.

The justices did carve out exceptions to the witness requirements, applying it to ballots cast before they rendered their decision and those received by election officials within two days of the justices’ order.

But Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito Jr. and Neil Gorsuch said they would have reinstated the requirement for all ballots.

The underlying lawsuit was filed by Democratic groups and several South Carolina voters. On the other side were state officials and the South Carolina Republican party, who argued the witness requirement was a not an undue burden and that the practice helped prevent fraud.

U.S. District Judge J. Michelle Childs disagreed, finding the requirement served no useful purpose.

“The fact the witness requirement may provide a lead to investigate absentee fraud is undercut by an utter dearth of absentee fraud,” Childs noted.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Court of Appeals initially overruled the judge, but the full Appeals court reinstated Childs’ injunction.

State officials then appealed to the Supreme Court.

State News

Georgia Election Chief to Trump: Drop the Fraud Allegations
State News
Georgia Election Chief to Trump: Drop the Fraud Allegations

ATLANTA — Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Wednesday called on President Donald Trump to drop unproven allegations of voting fraud in the state. At a news conference at the Georgia Capitol, Raffensperger decried Trump's continued insistence that voter fraud cost him the election in Georgia and elsewhere. The secretary cited this week's comments... Read More

Hart Mounts Challenge to Outcome in Iowa's Second District
State News
Hart Mounts Challenge to Outcome in Iowa's Second District
December 2, 2020
by Dan McCue

WHEATLAND, Iowa - Democrat Rita Hart is challenging the vote totals in Iowa's 2nd Congressional District, two days after a state board certified Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks the winner in a contest that came down to just six votes. The race is the closest federal election in... Read More

Iowa Canvassing Board Certifies Republican as Winner of 2nd District Race
State News
Iowa Canvassing Board Certifies Republican as Winner of 2nd District Race
November 30, 2020
by Dan McCue

In the end, it came down to a razor thin margin of six votes out of 394,441 cast, but that was margin enough for the Iowa state canvassing board Monday to declare Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks winner of the state's hotly contested 2nd Congressional District race. On... Read More

Q&A: Some Burning Questions for Georgia's Senate Runoffs
State News
Q&A: Some Burning Questions for Georgia's Senate Runoffs

ATLANTA — There are a few certainties about the all-important runoffs in Georgia: The Jan. 5 contests will decide control of the U.S. Senate, set soaring spending records, attract the shiniest stars from both parties and put Georgia at the center of the political universe. But much remains up in the air about... Read More

GOP Candidate Clings to 8-vote Lead in US House Race in Iowa
State News
GOP Candidate Clings to 8-vote Lead in US House Race in Iowa

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A Republican candidate saw her vote lead dwindle to single digits Wednesday in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District as a dramatic recount moved toward a conclusion in a race that will help determine the size of Democrats’ majority in the House of... Read More

High Court Blocks NY Coronavirus Limits on Houses of Worship
Supreme Court
High Court Blocks NY Coronavirus Limits on Houses of Worship

WASHINGTON (AP) — As coronavirus cases surge again nationwide the Supreme Court late Wednesday barred New York from enforcing certain limits on attendance at churches and synagogues in areas designated as hard hit by the virus. The justices split 5-4 with new Justice Amy Coney Barrett in the... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top