Supreme Court justice orders separation of Pennsylvania ballots received after Nov. 3

2020 Election

WASHINGTON (AP) — Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito has ordered county elections officials in Pennsylvania to keep separate mail-in ballots that arrived after Election Day. The state’s top elections official already had ordered those ballots be kept apart.

The order came Friday night in response to a plea from the state Republican Party as Democrat Joe Biden inched ahead of President Donald Trump in Pennsylvania in the presidential race.

Alito, acting on his own, said he was motivated in part by the Republicans’ assertion that they can’t be sure elections officials are complying with guidance issued by Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, a Democrat.

The justice handles emergency appeals from Pennsylvania. He ordered a response from the state by Saturday afternoon and said he has referred the matter to the full court for further action.

The order is related to an ongoing Republican appeal to the Supreme Court to try to keep ballots received in the mail after Election Day from being counted. The state’s top court granted a three-day extension, and the Supreme Court refused to block it.

The Associated Press has not declared a winner in the state.

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