Pennsylvania Supreme Court Overrules Judge On Mail-In-Voting

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Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court overruled a state judge’s order to let the mail-in ballot law expire in two weeks. It will stay fast while the court hears arguments.

Governor Tom Wolf requested that his state’s Supreme Court leave the existing mail-in ballot law in place while the litigation was ongoing, according to the Pennsylvania government site. The defense attorneys argued successfully that halting mail-in voting would clog up the primary season, which begins in the spring. They wrote:

‘[It] would, if anything, only exacerbate voter confusion and the danger of disenfranchisement.’

Pennsylvania’s Court’s Senior Judge conservative Mary Hannah Leavitt wrote her one-paragraph decision in anticipation of letting an important law bite the dust on February 16. It had been the state law for two years.

Tuesday the state’s Supreme Court held oral arguments, the Associated Press (AP) reported. Its judges will examine the challenge to the law. But in the meantime, the justices went ahead and invalidated the judge’s order. Fortunately, that should give them another week to decide. Unlike the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent habit, they left the existing law in place until they make their final decision.

Pennsylvania opened up most restrictions against mail-in voting in 2019, because the GOP leaders thought that would limit straight-ticket voting. But as it turned out, more Democrats used the mail-in ballots, especially with the COVID pandemic. So the Republican flipped it. There were 11 GOP plaintiffs in this current lawsuit.

Three Republican judges sat on a panel in January to decide the “no-excuse mail-in voting” and ruled it unconstitutional according to Pennsylvania law.

The two Democrats on the panel were outnumbered. They said that the law as it stood was constitutional. They referred to the state’s constitution where it read:

‘[Elections] shall be by ballot or by such other method as may be prescribed by law.’

Pennsylvanians cast almost five million votes from 2020 through 2021. Of that number, nearly 28 percent of (1.4 million) Pennsylvania voters were on the permanent mail-in ballot voting notification request list.

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