Pennsylvania’s vote-by-mail statute ruled unconstitutional by Commonwealth Court; appeals expected

1/28/2022 8:28:00 PM

Gov. Tom Wolf notes current systems will stay in place while appeal is pending.

@Topstories, Elections-2022

Pennsylvania ’s vote-by-mail statute ruled unconstitutional by Commonwealth Court; appeals expected

Gov. Tom Wolf notes current systems will stay in place while appeal is pending.

ByIn the 3-2 decision,Gov. Tom Wolf vowed an immediate appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and he noted that as long as the case is pending, the current statute stays in full effect. That means other provisions in the law including the elimination of straight-party voting options and longer pre-election windows for residents to register to vote would also stay in effect for now.

“The simple fact is that despite near-unanimous Republican legislative support for this historic update to Pennsylvania election law, they now want to strip away mail-in voting in the service of the “big lie”. The strength of our democracy and our country depends on eligible voters casting their ballot and selecting their leaders. We need leaders to support removing more barriers to voting, not trying to silence the people.”

Read more:
PennLive.com »

Chilean scientists discover 12,000-year-old elephant remains

Gomphotheres, an extinct relative of the modern elephant, roamed southern Chile thousands of years ago and might have been the target of group hunts by inhabitants of the region, Chilean scientists hypothesize after a recent discovery. Read more >>

I am a PA Absentee Voter. I am beyond pissed at this move. They say, I do not reside in PA, I cannot vote. Thing is, I still have to file my Federal Taxes, even though I no longer reside in USA! Make a FEDERAL ABSENTEE MAIL IN VOTING OFFICE, or STOP requiring us to file 1040's! ....of course it will not stay in place while waiting appeal Not how the law works

Pennsylvania court tosses state's mail voting law Pennsylvania court strikes down the state’s mail voting law, saying that voters must amend the state constitution before such legislation is legal. This is gonna be appealed, right? Funny because I remember along with CNN and others attacking certain Congress people for pointing out this law was unconstitutional last year. In fact they were accused of being part of the “big lie” simply because they understood how laws should be enacted. Shameful.

Biden's nearly 2M mail-in Pennsylvania votes in 2020 would now be 'unconstitutional'Joe Biden won the state and its 20 electoral votes by a slim margin of 50 percent to 48 percent over President Donald Trump. thats the only way the GOP can win. cheating. they dont support democracy anymore. I believe you have a few rulings out of PA mixed up. Yesterday, the PA S. Ct. denied an appeal to hear a case about mail-in ballots, but that opinion did not strike down the 2019 law. Today, it was a lower court that struck down the 2019 law, and that ruling will be appealed.

Mappapalooza: The fight over Pennsylvania’s congressional district lines has headed to courtHere's a look at the maps that Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia McCullough can choose from.

Liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, 83, to retireLiberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, 83, is retiring, likely this summer, giving President Biden an opening he has pledged to fill by naming the first Black woman to the high court.

Bidens Welcome Willow, the First Cat, to the White HousePresident Biden and first lady Jill Biden have brought a Tabby cat from a Pennsylvania farm to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Who cares. We are on the brink of a Russian conflict and an economic recession. When this is a POTUS main news,.... Fucking old people always getting like 8 pets 🤷‍♂️🤦‍♂️

Lawyer For Big Oil Tells Court That Lawsuits Threaten National SecurityAn attorney for Big Oil told a federal appeals court this week that suits against oil companies are a security threat to the US. Sounds like an extortion attempt. Blaming oil producers for the co2 in the air. More fud lawsuits. When evidence is mankind is responsible. Another city going bankrupt and acting like the mafia. Just tell them to stop burning it... There's plenty that oil is useful for, floating on water and all.

Updated: Jan.mail voting law on Friday morning, saying that voters must amend the state constitution before such legislation is legal.Donald Trump and his allies have questioned the legitimacy of the 2020 election, filing numerous court cases following the 2020 election.a Republican from Washington County, and three former GOP Congressmen.

28, 2022, 1:00 p.m. “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. | Published: Jan.1 percent of the vote to Trump's 48. 28, 2022, 12:02 p.” The ruling can be appealed to a higher court.m. district like that represented by Reschenthaler safer for Republicans.

Mail-in ballots are sorted and counted by workers on Election Day on Nov. Pennsylvania expanded mail voting with a 2019 law that was heralded as a bipartisan compromise as it was passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature and signed by Democratic Gov. Make America Great Again. 3, 2020, at Northampton County Courthouse in Easton, Northampton County, Pennsylvania. (Matt Smith for Spotlight PA) By Charles Thompson | cthompson@pennlive. It later became a target for Republican criticism when then-President Donald Trump falsely criticized mail voting as a source of widespread fraud.com A narrow Commonwealth Court majority struck down Pennsylvania’s new but widely-used law permitting no-excuse mail-in voting Friday, arguing that the state Constitution should have been amended before the Legislature made this kind of significant change to voting processes across the state.S. In the 3-2 decision, the majority held that if the Legislature and state voters agree to that kind of amendment, mail-in balloting can be restored. 2021, 14 Republican members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives filed suit against the state’s mail voting law alleging it unconstitutional and, in Sept. from court submissions This submission was provided by attorneys for Gov.

But the 2019 law authorizing it got out ahead of the plain language of the state Constitution, the majority held in an opinion by Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt, and that can’t be ignored. The immediate impact of the decision is limited. The Democratic National Committee and the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, as well as several GOP county committees, intervened to defend the law with the state., on January 21, 2022. Gov. Tom Wolf vowed an immediate appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and he noted that as long as the case is pending, the current statute stays in full effect.6 million Pennsylvania voters cast a mail or early in-person ballot. That means other provisions in the law including the elimination of straight-party voting options and longer pre-election windows for residents to register to vote would also stay in effect for now. Once they do that, she said, it’s OK to work toward fairness in term of creating a mix of House districts that accurately reflect voter preferences.

The Supremes - should they take up the case - would be the ultimate arbiter. Following the ruling, the former president heralded the news. “The Republican-controlled legislature passed Act 77 with strong bipartisan support in 2019 to make voting more safe, secure, and accessible and millions of Pennsylvanians have embraced it,” Wolf said in a statement. “The simple fact is that despite near-unanimous Republican legislative support for this historic update to Pennsylvania election law, they now want to strip away mail-in voting in the service of the “big lie”. The Democratic National Committee and the Pennsylvania Acting Secretary of State's office did not respond immediately to requests for comment. The strength of our democracy and our country depends on eligible voters casting their ballot and selecting their leaders. We need leaders to support removing more barriers to voting, not trying to silence the people. Timm. The Senate Democrats’ attorneys have argued that unlike many of the Republican submissions, whereby one party may wind up with less representation than its share of the votes because too many of its voters are packed into a handful of districts.

” Voting by mail has already proven extremely popular with 21st Century Pennsylvania voters, perhaps fueled by interest in options to in-person voting during the coronavirus pandemic. The new system was used by more than one in five voters in the 2020 presidential election, and about 1.38 million voters have signalled that they wish to have the option on a recurring basis. In the presidential vote, those mail-in votes skewed heavily in favor of Democrat Joe Biden, giving former President Donald J. Trump an initial platform to raise concerns - with no basis in fact - that the election was rigged. Concerned Citizens for Democracy A submission from Concerned Citizens for Democracy, a group of voters from southeastern Pennsylvania.

In fact, Trump was one of the first politicians to react to the ruling, issuing this statement Friday from his Save America political action committee: “Big news out of Pennsylvania, great patriotic spirit is developing at a level that nobody thought possible. Make America Great Again!” The current challenge was brought in two separate cases: one from Bradford County Commissioner Doug McLinko, and the second from a group of Republican state legislators. In her opinion for the majority, Leavitt wrote that the standard for voting since 1838 has been understood in the Constitution to mean in-person voting at a specified time and place. That standard has been expanded over time to permit absentee balloting by military members, the disabled, people away on travel for work or pleasure, and even people constrained by religious observances. But those changes, Leavitt said in an opinion joined by Judges Patricia McCullough and Christine Fizzano Cannon, have always followed corresponding amendments in the state Constitution that cleared the way for them to be enacted. Rep.

That’s a fundamental step, she said, that can’t be ignored. “Our Constitution allows the requirement of in-person voting to be waived where the elector’s absence is for reasons of occupation, physical incapacity, religious observance, or Election Day duties. Because that list of reasons does not include no-excuse absentee voting, it is excluded,” Leavitt wrote. “An amendment to our Constitution that ends the requirement of in-person voting is the necessary prerequisite to the legislature’s establishment of a no-excuse mail-in voting system.” The dissenters in the case, Judges Michael Wojcik and Ellen Ceisler, agreed with the Wolf Administration’s premise that Leavitt’s theory could apply to changes in in-person or absentee balloting specifically, but that nothing in the Constitution bars the Legislature from authorizing a distinctly new form of balloting, which they hold that no-excuse mail-in balloting was meant to be.S.

The new doubts about voting-by-mail come in a year where Pennsylvania voters are choosing a new governor, a new U.S. Senator, all 17 representatives to Congress, 203 state House members and 25 state senators. If Leavitt’s holding was to stand, in a way it would just be back to the relatively recent future for Pennsylvania voters: In-person voting never went away, and the court’s decision leaves in place the more traditional absentee balloting for people with specific reasons why they can’t be at the polls on election day. But some vote-by-mail supporters argued Friday that having opened this avenue, it would be nothing more than disenfranchisement of voters to take it away. Proponents also say it tracks well if the goal is to create districts with a partisan makeup that accurately reflects voter decisions in past series of statewide Pennsylvania elections, it creates three majority-minority House districts and it forces no incumbent representatives into survival elections against one another.

“Three million voters can’t be wrong,” said Ray Murphy, state coordinator for the voter access group Keystone Votes. “The lawsuit that led to this decision was nothing more than a brazen attempt to cause confusion and turn a bipartisan election modernization law into a partisan political issue. It’s a stain on the success so many worked to achieve. “More than 3.2 million Pennsylvanians used vote by mail in the last major election in 2020.500 submissions and the priorities that the Draw The Lines mapmakers consistently rated as most important in coming up with a fair map, the top three of which were compactness, maximizing competitive elections and preserving communities of interest.

In the 2020 general election, almost two-thirds of all vote-by-mail voters were over the age of 65. There is no legitimate reason for Republicans to try to overturn a law that so many people are using --- unless they are afraid of giving power to these voters,” Murphy continued. “Our focus remains on working with voters to educate and inform them, and we intend to do that here so there is no confusion, because this is not the end of the story.” But one top Republican legislative leader said Friday that he believes there are real problems with the way aspects of the mail-in balloting was implemented by Wolf’s Department of State in 2020, and he called Leavitt’s ruling a pivot point for the governor to engage in negotiations on a new elections law. “After what occurred in the 2020 and 2021 elections, I have no confidence in the no-excuse mail in ballot provisions.

There is no doubt that we need a stronger election law than the one we have in place today,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, a Centre County Republican who happens to be running to succeed Wolf this year. Corman’s reference was in part to a 2020 Election Eve guidance issued to counties by then Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar’s guidance to counties about how to deal with mailed ballots that were incorrectly completed, such as not arriving inside a separate, secrecy envelope. The guidance advised counties to notify voters who had deficiencies on their ballot to cast a provisional ballot, which Corman has said is a step that has no basis in law. Some counties followed Boockvar’s late guidance and others didn’t. “Governor Wolf has ignored this debate for over a year, but hopefully this ruling will help bring him to the table so we can address concerns about our election system once and for all,” Corman said.

There were signs that the decision was already causing some anxiety in county election offices, some of whom may have already sent out 2022 mail-in ballot applications to voters who have indicated that they want to get them automatically every year. Wolf’s office was saying that they should continue to operate under the parameters of the 2019 law for the time being. Note to readers: if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links we may earn a commission. Disclaimer .