Supreme Court Keeps Mail-In Voting in Place, For Now

Mail-in voting received a stay of execution Tuesday.

Pennsylvania’s mail-in voting law will remain in place after a one-paragraph order from the state’s Supreme Court. The justices overturned a February 16 order from Commonwealth Court judge Mary Hannah Leavitt that would have ended the Keystone State’s two-year-old process in two weeks.

The high court will hear oral arguments on March 8 regarding the legal challenges to the current law. By allowing the law to remain in place, it allows the justices more time to reach a conclusion without having Leavitt’s timeline order hanging over them.

The Commonwealth Court ruled in January by a 3-2 vote that no-excuse mail-in voting is prohibited under the Pennsylvania Constitution. Governor Tom Wolf’s administration asked the Supreme Court to keep the law in place until a decision was reached, citing voter confusion surrounding the process for the upcoming May 17 primary.

No-excuse mail-in voting has been more popular among Democrats than Republicans. Many GOP legislators in the General Assembly who voted to adopt the 2019 law now oppose it, including 11 of the plaintiffs in the present challenge.

Since mail-in ballots were first made available by historic bipartisan legislation, more than 4.7 million of these ballots have been cast by Pennsylvania voters, according to the Department of State. 

2 Responses

  1. Another thank you to PA Supreme Ct to protect democracy in PA. First, good district maps. Now, mail-in voting.

  2. “To the contrary … the Pennsylvania Constitution specifically empowers the General Assembly to provide for another means by which an elector may cast a ballot through legislation such as Act 77,” Commonwealth Court Judge Michael Wojcik wrote, noting that the law permits for elections to proceed “by ballot or by such other method as may be prescribed by law” as long as votes remained confidential.

    “Thus, the General Assembly is constitutionally empowered to enact Act 77 to provide for qualified and registered electors present in their municipality of residence on an election day to vote by no excuse mail-in ballot,” Wojcik continued.

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