In August of last year, a rule was made by the Virginia Board of Elections that would have allowed elections officials to count late mail-in ballots that arrived without a postmark up to three days after this past November’s presidential election. A judge reversed this on Monday, ruling that the board’s decision was illegal.
Virginia Circuit Court Judge William Eldridge ruled that with this rule, the board violated state elections law, according to the Daily Caller. He issued an injunction that will stop Virginia from adopting this rule in future elections moving forward.
Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF), a legal group representing Frederick County electoral board member Thomas Reed in his case against the state mail-in ballot law, announced the judge’s decision.
“This is a big win for the Rule of Law,” said PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams. “This consent decree gives Mr. Reed everything he requested – a permanent ban on accepting ballots without postmarks after Election Day and is a loss for the Virginia bureaucrats who said ballots could come in without these protections.”
On August 4 of last year, Virginia Board of Elections revealed the new rule, telling county boards that any ballots “received by the general registrar’s office by noon on the third day after the election … but does not have a postmark, or the postmark is missing or illegible” were not to be rendered invalid. A week later, the board added that these ballots should be counted.
Pilf fired back in October by filing a lawsuit against the board on the behalf of Reed, who claimed that this rule violated state law. The specific Virginia statute that he thinks it violated states, “Any absentee ballot returned to the general registrar after the closing of the polls on election day but before noon on the third day after the election and postmarked on or before the date of the election shall be counted.”
The court agreed with Reed, issuing an order on October 28 preventing the state of Virginia from accepting and counting late absentee ballots that did not have postmarks. This meant that the ballots did not end up being counted in the presidential election, and thanks to the judge’s new ruling, they won’t be in the future either.