According to a new report form the Washington Examiner, Virginia Circuit Court judge ruled that the state’s last-minute changes to election law allowing mail-in ballots to arrive late without a postmark were illegal.
Public Interest Legal Foundation President J. Christian Adams, who represented Frederick County electoral board member Thomas Reed in the case called the decision “a big win for the Rule of Law.”
“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,” he added.
The case was over a Virginia Board of Elections rule issued in August that allowed mail-in ballots without a postmark to be received up to three days after the November election.
The new Virginia Board of Elections rule notified county election 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” should not be rendered invalid.
The elections board decided a week later that those ballots should be counted.
The PILF filed a lawsuit against the board of elections in October on behalf of Reed, who said that he could not enforce the new rules because they were a violation of state law.
Virginia law states that “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 PILF argued that the language of the law clearly mandates a postmark, making the new rule unlawful.
The court agreed with Reed’s argument, granting a preliminary injunction that prevented the state from accepting or counting ballots without a postmark.
The latest ruling reinforces the earlier injunction, assuring that Virginia will not be able to make similar changes to future elections in the state without adequate changes in current law.