Earlier today, a Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court struck down a law making it legal to vote by mail for any reason whatsoever — the contentious Act 77. The ruling is a significant blow to the liberal push for universal, no excuse, mail-in balloting. Pennsylvania, whose voting laws were the subject of severe criticism by Then-President Donald Trump and the Republican Party in 2020, has had its mail-in balloting laws in place since 2019 — well before the Pandemic began. The law became the subject of great controversy only when President Trump lost the 2020 election. Many argued the law was unconstitutional. They contend a constitutional amendment had to be put in place before the legislative and executive branches could licitly implement universal, no excuse, mail-in balloting. At least, in this case, the Court agreed with such reasoning.
The Court took issue, not with the law itself, but how it was implemented. Here is the majority opinion, courtesy of the Lancaster Based NBC Station, News 8 WGAL :
“No-excuse mail-in voting makes the exercise of the franchise more convenient and has been used four times in the history of Pennsylvania. Approximately 1.38 million voters have expressed their interest in voting by mail permanently. If presented to the people, a constitutional amendment to end Article VII, Section 1 requirement of in-person voting is likely to be adopted. But a constitutional amendment must be presented to the people and adopted into our fundamental law before legislation authorizing no-excuse mail-in voting can ‘be placed upon our statute books”
The Democrats will likely appeal the decision to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which has a liberal Majority. As such, it is difficult to tell how lasting of an impact the decision will have on the law itself. Time will only tell.