On Friday morning, the en banc Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court struck down Act 77, Pennsylvania's no-excuse mail voting law. RNLA Chair Harmeet Dhillon was part of the legal team representing one of the lead plaintiffs, Bradford County election official Doug McLinko.
The Lawyers Democracy Fund is proud to have supported Bradford County Board of Elections Member Doug McLinko's litigation challenging Pennsylvania's no-excuse mail-in ballot law, Act 77, which the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court struck down this morning. https://t.co/NXnbObPJZo— Lawyers Democracy (@lawyersdf) January 28, 2022
The plaintiffs' key point, which was ultimately upheld by the court, is that the Pennsylvania General Assembly circumvented the state constitution when it enacted no-excuse absentee voting for all electors. The proper way to do so would have been to amend the state constitution, which requires the approval of Pennsylvania voters.
LDF Executive Director Lisa Dixon: "The PA Commonwealth Court recognized today that the state legislature cannot circumvent the PA state constitution and the people of PA’s right to vote directly on the provisions of their state constitution." https://t.co/wolQ7TpBSY— Lawyers Democracy (@lawyersdf) January 28, 2022
The DNC brought in their big talent like former U.S. Solicitor General Seth Waxman to litigate on Act 77 because they know how important the case is. Despite this, they were unsuccessful because no amount of artful litigation can undo the state's constitution. 3/3— RNLA ⚖️ (@TheRepLawyer) January 28, 2022
The Philadelphia Enquirer reported:
The court notably did not rule against the merits of mail voting and its expansion — it focused instead on how that expansion occurred, saying the Constitution must first be amended to allow it.
“No-excuse mail-in voting makes the exercise of the franchise more convenient and has been used four times in the history of Pennsylvania,” Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt wrote for the court. “Approximately 1.38 million voters have expressed their interest in voting by mail permanently. 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 Commonwealth Court should be applauded for upholding the rule of law in Pennsylvania.
Even more important than what lawyers think, now the people of Pennsylvania will have a say on their voting laws as the Pennsylvania Constitution provides. https://t.co/gYpCtns25q— RNLA ⚖️ (@TheRepLawyer) January 28, 2022