A county judge on Wednesday denied an emergency request by the county to extend a 5:00 p.m. Friday deadline for the submission of absentee ballots in next Tuesday's general election.
The Intelligencer reported that Judge Bernard A. Moore said he didn't believe he had the legal authority to extend the deadline.
Citing the loss of power and other infrastructure disruptions caused by "the devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy," the county had requested that absentee ballots postmarked by Monday, Nov. 5 be accepted through Tuesday, Nov. 13.
"The requested enlargement of time is entirely reasonable because Absentee
Ballots submitted by members of the military are already permitted to be postmarked no later than the day of the primary or general election. Furthermore, under normal circumstances, Absentee Ballots received after the statutory deadline are nevertheless counted for presidential
votes during Presidential elections such as this one," the county argued in its petition.
County Commissioner Leslie Richards, who also serves as the chair of the Montgomery County Election Board, was critical of Moore's decision.
"We should be encouraging people to vote, not making it harder," Richards said Wednesday evening in a post on her Twitter account.
Earlier this week, an executive order issued by Pa. Governor Tom Corbett extended the deadline to apply for an absentee ballot in each county by a period of time equivalent to the number of days that county's government was closed. Montgomery County offices were closed on Monday and Tuesday, which extended the deadline to apply for an absentee ballot to 5:00 p.m. Thursday. That deadline remains in place. Eligible voters may visit the county Election Board offices in Norristown in person to complete an application and receive their absentee ballot. They may then, optionally, complete and submit that ballot in the office.