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The Late Ballot Scam

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

Democrats and media allies falsely claim that newly confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barrett is poised to steal the election for Donald Trump. Democrats are demanding she recuses herself from election cases coming before the Supreme Court. Otherwise, warns The Washington Post, "the court's reputation will be shattered" and "the public's faith in democracy" destroyed.


Truth is, it's the Democrats trying to tilt the scale for their candidate. They're swarming swing states with armies of lawyers filing lawsuits. Some challenge voter ID laws or signature requirements on ballots. But their biggest goal is to overturn state laws requiring that mailed ballots arrive by Election Day. Democrats want ballots counted even if they arrive several days late and have no postmark. As if elections don't have deadlines.

The left claims failing to count late ballots amounts to "voter disenfranchisement." That's crazy. You'd have to be living on the moon not to know by now to vote or mail in a ballot early to avoid Election Day crowds. That's why an astounding 66 million people have already voted. The voter disenfranchisement argument is a scam. It's like claiming that people who get to the airport late have a right to demand the plane wait for them.

Even so, the Dems' scheme might have worked, except for the clarity of the U.S. Constitution, which empowers state legislatures to determine "the time and place and manner of elections." Pennsylvania Republicans are banking on those words to make their case to the U.S. Supreme Court in the coming days, possibly the first case Barrett will hear.

Election 2020 could hinge on that case. Trump took Pennsylvania with barely 45,000 votes in 2016, and it's close again. But earlier this year, Pennsylvania Democrats did an end run around the Republican state legislature. Dems weaseled a concession from a sympathetic court allowing ballots that arrive as late as the Friday after Election Day to still be counted.


Republicans are asking the Justices to overturn the Pennsylvania court ruling. Otherwise tens of thousands of late ballots will be counted, contrary to state law. Possibly flipping the state for Biden.

Of course, Democrats are already claiming if Barrett participates in the Pennsylvania case, it will amount to election theft. Some illicit quid pro quo with the President. The facts prove that's nonsense.

Barrett will probably vote to uphold the Election Day deadline -- but for the right reason. She takes seriously the actual words of the Constitution.

A majority of the Court will likely agree. Deferring to state election law is a bedrock constitutional principle. Earlier this year, a majority of the Court ruled against Democratic efforts to override state election laws in South Carolina.

The best preview of what is likely to happen in the Pennsylvania case occurred in an emergency ruling Monday night. The Justices voted 5-3 against counting late ballots in another battleground state, Wisconsin. Democrats wanted to count ballots that arrive up to six days after Election Day, contrary to state law. Justice Brett Kavanaugh said it's the job of "politically accountable state legislatures" to make those decisions, not federal judges.

Justice Neil Gorsuch argued that fairness requires a "single deadline" no matter how you're voting.

It's the opposite of what the Democrats and their media allies are trying to sell you. The Pew Foundation says to forget tuning in on Election night for the returns. The election will drag on for days or weeks. New York Times columnist David Brooks predicts that even if Trump looks to be ahead on Election Night, that apparent victory will be undone later. Facebook and Twitter are pledging to censor any election night victory claims by the candidates. All because of late ballots. It's a scam.


The Supreme Court can't manufacture ballots for Trump He has to win the election fair and square. But the Court can score a big victory for the American public by preserving the finality of Election Day.

Gorsuch explains that "elections must end sometime." No truer words were ever written.

Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York and author of "The Next Pandemic," available at Contact her at To find out more about Betsy McCaughey and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

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