Friday, January 28, 2022

PA Voting Fight Escalates As Court Strikes Down Mail Ballot Law

A Pennsylvania State Court, on Friday, struck down the Law allowing Any Voter to Cast a Mail Ballot handing a Victory to Republican Lawmakers who sought to curtail the practice amid Trump’s Attacks on Mail Voting.

A Panel of Judges from Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court ruled that Act 77, which passed out of the State Legislature with Bipartisan support, and was signed by Gov. Tom Wolf (D) in 2019, Violated the State Constitution.

The State is expected to Appeal the Ruling to the State Supreme Court, which turned back other Challenges to the Law in 2020, and has a generally Liberal bent.

An Appeal would Automatically trigger a Stay of the Lower Court's Ruling.

The Ruling is the latest Skirmish in a broader Fight over Mail Voting happening in Dozens of States.

The practice once enjoyed broad Bipartisan backing, but Republican support for the practice plummeted in 2020, as Trump attacked Mail Voting, even though he used it during his Term in Office, even once mailing to Mar-Largo and having it hand delivered, in the run-up to the Election and then blamed it for his Loss after, spreading Conspiracy Theories about widespread Fraud within the practice.

Since then, Republicans in Battlegrounds and other States have sought to change Voting rules via Legislation or Court Challenges to Restrict Mail Voting.

“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,” wrote Commonwealth Court Judge, Mary Hannah Leavitt, who authored the Ruling.

“If presented to the people, a constitutional amendment to end the 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,’” she continued.

The Ruling came out of a consolidated Lawsuit, including a Challenge brought by more than a Dozen Republican Lawmakers in the State, some of whom initially Voted for the Expansion of Mail Voting in 2019.

Since then, Republicans across the Country have targeted Mail Voting. In Wisconsin, a Lawsuit from a Conservative Organization Banned the use of Dropboxes in the State temporarily, before a Higher Court Stayed that Order earlier in January.

“Big news out of Pennsylvania, great patriotic spirit is developing at a level that nobody thought possible,” Trump said in a Statement celebrating the Pennsylvania Ruling. “Make America Great Again!”

Over 2.6 million Pennslyvanians Voted via the Mail in the 2020 General Election, according to the State’s Elections Department. That Number includes both No-Excuse Mail Voting and Absentee Voting.

Absentee Voting in Pennsylvania is similar to Mail Voting and has existed for years, but Voters need a Valid Excuse, like an Illness or being Out-of-the-area, on Election Day, to use it.

Absentee Voting is Unaffected by Friday’s Court Ruling.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

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