HARRISBURG - Today, a Commonwealth Court ruling overturned the 2019 law that made vote-by-mail possible in Pennsylvania. In the 2020 general election alone, nearly three million Pennsylvanians took advantage of the law to vote in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ruling will be appealed to the state Supreme Court and automatically stayed, keeping vote-by-mail in place until the justices rule on the case.
During the legislative debate over the bill that became Act 77, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania was among the advocates supporting the legislation, along with the voting rights coalition Keystone Votes. The following can be attributed to Reggie Shuford, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania:
“This lawsuit is an attack on the right to vote. Vote-by-mail has been wildly successful, with millions of Pennsylvanians taking advantage of the option in 2020 during the worst pandemic in a century. We’re on the side of democracy; we believe that voting should be convenient and accessible. By expanding mail-in voting to everyone, this law made that possible.
“Why are the challengers in this lawsuit afraid of the voters?”
The following can be attributed to Marian Schneider, senior voting rights policy counsel for the ACLU of Pennsylvania:
“The state constitution requires that absentee voting be available to voters with disabilities, those who will not be in their precinct on Election Day for business reasons, for religious purposes, and for people deployed in the military. To read that language to mean that absentee voting is, therefore, forbidden for all other voters is a serious misreading of the constitution.
“This ruling will be appealed to the state Supreme Court, and it will be automatically stayed, which will keep vote-by-mail in effect while on appeal. And we hope that it ultimately will be overturned.”