The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania on Friday ruled that the state’s expansive two-year-old mail-in voting law, Act 77, is unconstitutional, ABC27 reported.
The law allowed voters to submit a ballot by mail up to 50 days before an election and placed voters on a list to permanently receive a ballot application by mail. It also established 15 more days to register to vote and extended mail-in and absentee submission deadlines.
In its decision, the Court wrote that “Act 77 of 2019, which established that any qualified elector may vote by mail for any reason, violates the Pennsylvania Constitution and is, therefore, void.”
Last September, fourteen members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives filed the legal challenge to the 2019 voting law, arguing that it had been implemented in a way that violated the Commonwealth’s Constitution.
The five-judge Commonwealth Court panel of three Republicans and two Democrats rejected Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Veronica Degraffenreid’s argument that the challenge to no-excuse mail-in voting lacked standing and that the challenge was untimely filed.
Over a third of the voters in Pennsylvania— 2.6 million—used mail-in voting in the 2020 election. Another 4.2 million voted in person.
In December of 2020, a researcher at the Department of Justice examined election results from Pennsylvania (and Georgia), and released a 25-page report indicating a high probability of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election. In the December 2020 report, economist John Lott Ph.D. estimated that there were about 55,270 fraudulent absentee and provisional ballots counted in Allegheny County alone.
Governor Tom Wolf in 2019 said Act 77 made voting “more convenient and more secure for millions of Pennsylvanians.”
The governor could appeal the decision, putting the matter into the hands of the state Supreme Court, which has a 5-2 Democratic majority.
Former US congressman Lou Barletta, now a Republican candidate for governor of Pennsylvania, issued the following statement regarding the ruling.
“Now we know that not only was Act 77 a terrible law, it was also unconstitutional and shouldn’t have been passed in the first place. Most states that go to widespread mail-in voting take years to implement the process, but in Pennsylvania, we went from under 300,000 people voting by mail in 2016 to over 2.6 million in 2020. Local elections officers weren’t trained, equipped, or staffed to handle the flood of ballots and the result was the chaos that we all saw.
“If Act 77 remains on the books after court appeals are exhausted, I will repeal it as governor, because I believe mail-in voting should be preserved only for those who cannot vote on Election Day. In addition, we should require sound signature matching and identification for every voter and clear the rolls of people who have died or moved out of state. These are common sense ideas that promote integrity in our elections and enjoy widespread public support.”