Republican-led Pennsylvania court deems mail-in voting law unconstitutional
A Republican-led Pennsylvania court on Friday ruled that the state's mail-in voting law is unconstitutional.
Driving the news: Three Republican judges sided with Republican challengers and ruled that no-excuse mail-in voting is prohibited under the state's constitution. Two Democrats on the panel dissented.
- "The administration will immediately appeal this decision to the state Supreme Court and today’s lower court ruling will have no immediate effect on mail-in voting pending a final decision on the appeal," a spokesperson for Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf said in a statement on Friday.
Republicans, led by former President Trump, pushed baseless claims about mail-in voting and fraud after the 2020 election when the state went to President Joe Biden and cast doubt on the voting law.
The big picture: The Pennsylvania state legislature passed a law in 2019 with bipartisan support to allow no-excuse mail voting for all voters, AP reports.
- Before the 2019 law, the mail-in voting option was available for individuals unable to vote in person for specific reasons.
- Republicans first sought to overturn the mail-in voting law directly after Trump's defeat in 2020, when they unsuccessfully sought to invalidate millions of mail ballots, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
What they're saying: "If presented to the people, a constitutional amendment… is likely to be adopted. But a constitutional amendment must be presented to the people" before legislation like Act 77 can take effect, the court wrote in its opinion.
The other side: "The strength of our democracy and our country depends on eligible voters casting their ballot and selecting their leaders," Wolf's office said.
- "We need leaders to support removing more barriers to voting, not trying to silence the people."
Editor's note: This story has been updated with a statement from Gov. Tom Wolf's office.