A coalition of voting rights advocates filed a motion to intervene in Ball v. Chapman, the latest legal effort in the commonwealth to invalidate mail-in ballots that are missing a handwritten date on the return envelope. The ACLU of Pennsylvania and the American Civil Liberties Union are representing the Black Political Empowerment Project, League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, Common Cause Pennsylvania, NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference, Make the Road Pennsylvania, and POWER.  

The groups represented by the ACLU are nonpartisan organizations committed to promoting democracy and ensuring eligible voters in the commonwealth are able to vote and have their votes counted. With 2022 voting already underway, the disqualification of mail-in ballots without a handwritten date on the return envelope would deeply impact the work of these organizations and could potentially disenfranchise thousands of Pennsylvania voters. 

The lawsuit was filed just days after the U.S. Supreme Court vacated as moot the ACLU’s victory in Migliori v. Lehigh County, in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled that the date on the return envelope is immaterial to voters’ eligibility and, thus, under federal civil rights laws cannot be applied to disenfranchise voters.

This lawsuit follows a number of other legal efforts to disqualify mail-in ballots that are received on time by the counties but without a handwritten date on the return envelope. The three most recent court decisions, Migliori and two by the Commonwealth Court, have all ruled that undated mail ballots must be counted under both federal and state law.


Witold Walczak, Marian Schneider and Stephen Loney, ACLU of Pennsylvania; Ari J. Savitzky, Megan C. Keenan, Sophia Lin Lakin, and Adriel I. Cepeda Derieux, ACLU Voting Rights Project

Date filed

October 19, 2022


Pennsylvania Supreme Court