The Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) Chairman, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, had a press conference on Monday and announced they filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court of the United States concerning the mail-in ballot lawsuit filed in Pennsylvania. Republican Attorneys General from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Texas joined the "Friends of the Court" brief.
Republican Attorneys General Association chairman Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, Photo credit: YouTube screenshot
Schmitt stated at the press conference, “Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our Republic and it’s one of the reasons why the United States is the envy of the world." He added, “We have to ensure that every legal vote cast is counted in that every illegal vote cast is not counted.”
The brief states, “Our system of federalism relies on separation of powers to preserve liberty at every level of government, and the separation of powers in the Election Clauses is no exception to this principle.” It calls for a reversal of a decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court allowing mail-in ballots to be received three days after Election Day, even without postmarks.
The brief goes on to say, that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court admitted that the Legislature’s Election Day deadline was unambiguous, it conceded that the Election Day deadline was constitutional on its face, and it relied on the slimmest of evidentiary rationales for its decision, among others. It illustrated the risks of voter fraud with mail-in voting and absentee ballots by citing several sources that express the same concerns. Examples given were:
To illustrate the risks of voter fraud in mail-in voting and absentee ballot voting, the brief cites several sources that all express the same concerns about mail-in voting and absentee ballot voting, including the U.S. Supreme Court case Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, the Carter-Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform, the U.S. Department of Justice’s manual on Federal Prosecution of Election Offenses, in addition to several others.
It also argues that the decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court compounded the risks of ballot fraud, stating, “First, it created a post-election window of time during which nefarious actors could wait and see whether the Presidential election would be close, and whether perpetrating fraud in Pennsylvania would be worthwhile."
The brief concludes by citing Missouri State Conference of the NAACP v. State of Missouri, Board of Election Commissioners for the City of St. Louis which was recently decided. The court concluded in that case, “fraud in voting by mail is a recurrent problem, that it is hard to detect and prosecute, that there are strong incentives and weak penalties for doing so, and that it has the capacity to affect the outcome of close elections.”
Republican Party of Pennsylvania’s request was granted by Associate Justice Samuel Alito Jr. and temporarily ordered all counties segregate mail-in ballots that arrived after 8 p.m. on November 3rd from others, but the lawsuit is still pending petition in the Supreme Court. Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said, “The actions taken by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court are one of the most breathtaking abuses of judicial authority that I’ve seen in my four-plus years as attorney general.”
In a tweet posted after the announcement, Schmitt said, "The Pennsylvania Supreme Court overstepped its authority and encroached on the authority of the legislature in ruling that ballots received three days after election can be accepted, including ballots with an illegible postmark or no postmark at all."