The Cybersecurity 202: The Supreme Court could decide the fate of mail voting in two swing states

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Pennsylvania Republicans, meanwhile, are already asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a ruling by the state’s highest court that allows ballots to be counted if they arrive up to three days later. 

In both cases, the ballots must be postmarked by Election Day.

The two cases dramatically raise the chances the U.S. Supreme Court could determine the course of the election

If the Wisconsin decision stands, it could dramatically reduce the number of mail ballots that get counted in the state. 

U.S. District Judge William Conley originally ordered the six-day window for late-arriving ballots after a chaotic primary early in the pandemic.

During that April 7 primary, thousands of people didn’t receive requested mail ballots until shortly before Election Day and others didn’t receive them at all. The state decided to accept ballots postmarked by Election Day that arrived up to five days later. 

A whopping 79,000 ballots arrived during that time

It’s unclear whether a similar amount will arrive after Election Day this time. On the one hand, far more people are likely to vote in the general election than in a primary and interest in mail voting has surged as the pandemic has progressed. 

On the other, both parties have been pushing their voters to cast mail ballots as early as possible to avoid any risk they won’t be counted. 

“People will vote late. That happens in every state in every election,” Richard L. Hasen, an election law professor at the University of California at Irvine, told me. “But now there’s going to be even more of a push for people to get their ballots in as early as possible, and that message seems to be getting through to voters.” 

Democrats could suffer more if ballots arriving after Election Day aren’t counted because more Republicans