Supreme Court restores witness signature requirement for absentee ballots in win for GOP

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The Supreme Court reinstated a requirement that South Carolina voters need a witness to sign their absentee ballots before they vote by mail.

The Monday move by the high court reversed most of a lower-court decision that had ruled that requiring a witness to sign absentee ballots created an undue burden for voters in the Palmetto State, according to the Hill. The order does not apply to ballots already mailed in or that will be cast within the next two days.

“For many years, this Court has repeatedly emphasized that federal courts ordinarily should not alter state election rules in the period close to an election,” said Trump-appointee Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Conservative Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, and Samuel Alito said they would have taken the order even further by requiring those who already voted without the witness signature to do so a second time.

U.S. District Court Judge J. Michelle Childs, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, had previously paused the witness requirement for the election between President Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden. She said that the requirement could put voters at risk of contracting COVID-19, NBC News reported.

State Republican Party Chairman Drew McKissick praised the Monday Supreme Court order and accused Democrats of politicizing the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 210,000 people in the United States.

“Despite the Democrats’ efforts to hijack a pandemic and use it to meddle with our election laws, they’ve lost,” McKissick said in a statement. “We’re pleased the Supreme Court reinstated the witness signature requirement and recognized its importance in helping to prevent election fraud.”

No Supreme Court justices issued a noted dissent to the Monday order.

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