On May 28, 2024, the ACLU of Pennsylvania, with co-counsel from Public Interest Law Center and the law firm Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP, filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the commonwealth’s requirement that voters who submit mail ballots include a handwritten date on the voter declaration on the outside of the return envelope. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of nine advocacy organizations - Black Political Empowerment Project, Casa San Jose, Common Cause Pennsylvania, League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, Make The Road Pennsylvania, New Pennsylvania Project Education Fund, OnePA Activists For All, Pittsburgh United, and POWER Interfaith.

The handwritten date requirement has led to the disqualification of the ballots of tens of thousands of Pennsylvania voters who were otherwise eligible and returned their ballots by the deadline, including over 10,000 in the 2022 general election alone, and violates the free and equal elections clause of the Pennsylvania Constitution. The defendants are Secretary of State Al Schmidt and the boards of elections of Philadelphia and Allegheny counties.

The plaintiffs have asked the court to permanently stop the enforcement of the handwritten date rule because voters' state constitutional rights are violated when their ballots are disqualified under the rule.


Witold J. Walczak, Stephen Loney, Marian K. Schneider, and Kate I. Steiker-Ginzberg of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, Sophia Lakin and Ari J. Savitzky of the ACLU Voting Rights Project, and Mary M. McKenzie and Benjamin Geffen of Public Interest Law Center

Pro Bono Law Firm(s)

John A. Freedman, James F. Speyer, David B. Bergman, and Erica E. McCabe of Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP

Date filed

May 28, 2024


Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania