Pennsylvania court strikes down state’s mail voting law as unconstitutional

Pennsylvania court strikes down state’s mail voting law as unconstitutional

A Pennsylvania state court on Friday struck down the law allowing any voter to cast a ballot by mail, handing a victory to Republican lawmakers who sought to curtail the practice amid former President Donald Trump’s attacks on mail voting.

Commonwealth Court Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt agreed with that argument, writing the law violates the 1838 amendment that says a person must vote in-person on Election Day unless they meet certain criteria. She wrote the law can only be changed through another constitutional amendment.

“No-excuse mail-in voting makes the exercise of the franchise more convenient and has been used four times in the history of Pennsylvania,” Leavitt wrote.

“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 added.

State Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who is a Democrat, said the ruling would be appealed to the state Supreme Court, which turned back other challenges to the law in 2020 and has a generally liberal bent.

“This opinion is based on twisted logic and faulty reasoning, and is wrong on the law,” he said in a statement. “The issue will now go before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and we are confident that Act 77 will ultimately be upheld as constitutional.”

An appeal would automatically trigger a stay of the lower court’s ruling.

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