In June 2020, the Pennsylvania Democratic Party sued Secretary of State Kathryn Boockvar in Commonwealth Court, seeking to challenge several aspects of the commonwealth’s election laws. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania agreed to hear the case, using its King’s Bench power to bring up a case that has been filed in another state court.

On August 10, four advocacy organizations - Black Political Empowerment Project, Common Cause Pennsylvania, League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, and Make the Road Pennsylvania - and three individuals from Allegheny County filed a motion to intervene in the case. Represented by the ACLU of Pennsylvania, the ACLU Voting Rights Project, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Public Interest Law Center, and the law firm WilmerHale, the intervenors stated that their interests are broader and possibly divergent from the government defendants in the case. In their filing, the advocates and voters argued that current law authorizes counties to make drop boxes available for voters to submit mail and absentee ballots and that the current deadline for submitting mail and absentee ballots - which must be received by the voter’s county elections office by 8 p.m. on Election Day - is unconstitutional and that counties should accept ballots that are postmarked by Election Day.

On September 3, the PA Supreme Court denied the motion to intervene but asked us to submit an amicus brief in the case. On September 8, we filed an amicus brief that included the four expert reports on key election-related issues. The reports explain to the court that drop boxes are safe, secure, and common in states with mail-in voting; that mail-in voting is safe and secure; that recent delays in deliveries by the U.S. Postal Service could lead to the disenfranchisement of 5 percent of voters who submit mail and absentee ballots; that the Trump Campaign’s concerns about fraud have no merit, with a deep examination of all potential cases in Pennsylvania showing that the number of cases are close to zero; and that people who vote in person and poll workers are vulnerable to contracting the novel coronavirus.

Date filed

August 11, 2020


Amicus Brief