The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it would not grant a quick, pre-election review to a new Republican appeal to exclude Pennsylvania absentee ballots received after Election Day.
But the court's order left open the possibility that the justices could take up and decide after the voting whether a three-day extension to receive and count absentee ballots ordered by the state's high court was proper. The issue would take on enormous importance if Pennsylvania turns out to be the crucial state in next week's election and the votes received between Nov. 3 and Nov. 6 are potentially decisive.
Earlier Wednesday, the state agreed to segregate ballots received in the mail after polls close on Tuesday and before 5 p.m. on Nov. 6.
New Justice Amy Coney Barrett did not take part in the vote "because of the need for a prompt resolution of it and because she has not had time to fully review the parties’ filings," court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said in an email.
Justice Samuel Alito, writing for three justices, indicated he would support the high court's eventual review of the issue. But, he wrote, “I reluctantly conclude that there is simply not enough time at this late date to decide the question before the election."
Last week, the justices divided 4-4, a tie vote that allowed the three-day extension ordered by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to remain in effect.