Election limbo, as every race in Lehigh County still is technically up in the air. It's all due to one race.

The third and final spot for the Court of Common Pleas in Lehigh County has been held up in court due to mail-in ballot issues. A Lehigh County judge rejected a Republican candidate's appeal to not count 261 ballots.

Those ballots were returned without a date on the return envelope.

Only 74 votes separate Republican David Ritter and Democrat Zachary Cohen.

"Voters should understand there are requirements under the election law that matter for voter integrity, that matter for fraud, to ensure the sanctity of the ballot. This is not one of them," said election law attorney Adam Bonin.

Bonin adds his client, Cohen, is thrilled that Reibman denied Ritter's request to not count 261 mail-in ballots. Ritter argued because they didn't have the date on the return envelope, the ballots should not be counted.

In his opinion, Reibman said a return date on a mail-in ballot serves no purpose and goes against promoting participation in a free and fair election, adding it's not needed, as a voter could complete the ballot and set it aside for a few days. The Lehigh County elections office date stamps mail-in ballots as they are received.

The judge's decision comes after the county's board of elections voted unanimously on Nov. 15, to count the ballots after Bonin argued the county hadn't done enough to make the return date conspicuous to voters.

In a statement, Ritter's attorney said it's a procedural point of view and the Board of Elections didn't have the authority to hear the case. They have appealed to Commonwealth Court.

Bonin expects this to get to the State Supreme Court.

"The issues are clear, no need for further hearings, and I'm doubtful there will be any more oral arguments, so I do expect this to be handled in a number of weeks," he said.

Judge Reibman also said both parties agreed there was no fraud in the election.

Until the issue is settled, every race in Lehigh County can't be certified.

Allentown School District says they'll delay their swearing in of new school board members until the matter is settled. However, the city of Allentown said 261 votes won't change results. They plan on moving forward as scheduled with the new electees, including Matt Tuerk for Mayor.

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