Lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania’s early deadline for submitting completed absentee ballots
Court/Assoc.: Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania
Attorneys/Firms: Witold Walczak and Molly Tack-Hooper of the ACLU of Pennsylvania; Sophia Lin Lakin and Adriel Cepeda Derieux of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project; Ezra Rosenberg, John Powers, and Pooja Chaudhuri of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; Benjamin D. Geffen and Mary M. McKenzie of the Public Interest Law Center; William T. Russell, Jr. and Shannon K. McGovern of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP; and Seth F. Kreimer, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School
On November 13, 2018, the ACLU of Pennsylvania, the ACLU Voting Rights Project, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and cooperating counsel filed a constitutional challenge against Pennsylvania’s deadline for submitting completed absentee ballots. The lawsuit argues that voters are disenfranchised by the deadline in violation of the Pennsylvania Constitution’s guarantee of “free and equal” elections and the state and federal guarantees of equal protection.
Pennsylvania election law requires that absentee ballots be received by county bureaus of elections by 5 p.m. on the Friday before Election Day, which is the earliest deadline in the country. The lawsuit was filed by nine Pennsylvania residents who submitted their applications to vote absentee before the deadline for applying - which is by 5 p.m. the Tuesday before Election Day - but received their ballots too late to meet the deadline for submitting their completed absentee ballots.