Court rules mail voting is constitutional
Today, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court again upheld the provisions of Act 77, a historic, bipartisan election reform bill passed in 2019 that permitted no-excuse vote by mail for the first time in Pennsylvania history.
Read the ruling here.
In November 2020, the state Supreme Court dismissed a similar challenge to the Act’s constitutionality, “based upon Petitioners’ failure to file their facial constitutional challenge in a timely manner. …The want of due diligence demonstrated in this matter is unmistakable. Petitioners filed this facial challenge to the mail-in voting statutory provisions more than one year after the enactment of Act 77.” Read that decision here. The US Supreme Court then denied an appeal; read that decision here.
Almost 40% of Pennsylvanians who voted in the 2020 General Election used a mail ballot to cast their vote. That included people from across the political spectrum – more than 600,000 Republicans and almost 300,000 voters not affiliated with a major party cast their ballots by mail in 2020. It also included almost a million Pennsylvanians who are age 66 and older.
Statement of Common Cause Pennsylvania Executive Director Khalif Ali
Today, we celebrate a major victory for voting rights. This decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to uphold Act 77 ensures that millions of Pennsylvania voters can continue to cast their ballots safely and conveniently in the manner they choose. Act 77 was passed with strong bipartisan support for good reason – making voting easier and more accessible is the right thing to do.
More than 2.6 million Pennsylvanians used mail ballots to have their voices heard in the 2020 elections. That included voters from across the political spectrum – as it should have. There should be nothing partisan about ensuring that Pennsylvanians have the freedom to vote.
We encourage our legislators to now turn their attention toward strengthening Pennsylvania’s election code, by providing counties the ability to pre-canvass ballots, by helping counties provide accessible and convenient mail-ballot drop-boxes, and by establishing a statutory ballot-curing process so that standards are uniform across the Commonwealth and no voter has their ballot rejected over a simple mistake.
Common Cause Pennsylvania is committed to preserving the progress Pennsylvania has made in voting rights over the last few years, and we will continue our work to make voting more accessible for more people.