HARRISBURG — The Democratic challenger who lost by 74 votes — among over 100,000 cast — in her bid to unseat longtime State Sen. Tommy Tomlinson (R., Bucks) filed a petition Monday in Bucks County Court to have more absentee ballots counted.
At least 216 absentee ballots went uncounted because they were received after the deadline but before Election Day, according to the filing on behalf of challenger State Rep. Tina Davis.
Davis' campaign argues that budget cuts and scheduling changes at the U.S. Postal Service, as well as the closure of one local post office due to a fire, made it impossible for some people to submit their absentee ballots within the deadline, therefore depriving them of their rights under the Pennsylvania and U.S. Constitutions.
It cites as examples the stories of at least five voters who said they submitted their applications on time but did not receive them quickly enough to meet the response deadline.
Pennsylvania's election rules allow counties to begin sending out absentee ballots two weeks before the election — although they can still be sent several days after that — and require voters to return them by 5 p.m. on the Friday before Election Day.
"The Election Code by its terms permits widespread disenfranchisement of qualified electors by imposing an unreasonable deadline by which the qualified electors must submit their absentee ballots," according to the filing written by attorney Adam Bonin.
Tomlinson's campaign manager, Ryan Skoczylas, called on Davis to drop her petition.
"Now, after all the votes have been counted, Rep. Davis wants to change the rules of the election that every voter had to follow," Skoczylas said in a statement. "Worse yet, she is wasting the resources of our judicial system by filing this lawsuit to try and change the election rules after the fact. "
The challenge filed Monday is similar to one filed earlier this month by the ACLU, which also argued that the time frame for returning ballots was too short.
Regardless of the outcome of the challenge, Davis will be returning to the Capitol; separately, she was reelected to her state House seat.