Supreme Court Rejects Rhode Island Mail-In Voting Block by GOP

Published by Matt Fishman on

A bid by the Republican National Committee (GOP) to stop Rhode Island’s mail-in voting plan for the upcoming Presidential election has been rejected by the Supreme Court.

Rhode Island law requires voters who vote by mail to sign the envelope which contains their ballot “before a notary public or two witnesses, in order for their votes to be counted”. A group of Rhode Island voters sued to suspend this law as the two witness requirement carries “a high risk to the general public’s health” since some individuals will invite persons into their home, or travel outside their home to meet these witnesses, which “may violate social distancing guidelines and increase the likelihood that those involved will contract COVID-19 and transmit it to others”. For this reason, the United States District Court for Rhode Island has granted the suspension.

The U.S. District Court for Rhode Island ruled that for the “November 3, 2020 general elections, no mail ballot cast by a registered voter may be rejected for failure to include the signature of either two witnesses or a notary”. The GOP quickly applied to the Supreme Court for a stay of proceedings. Today, the Supreme Court has declared that since Rhode Island’s state election officials “support the challenged decree, and no state official has expressed opposition”, the GOP “lack a cognizable interest in the State’s ability to “enforce its duly enacted” laws”.