Pennsylvania's mail-in voting law is upheld again, as court rules against Republican challenge
A Pennsylvania state court on Tuesday rejected the latest Republican effort to throw out the presidential battleground state's broad mail-in voting law that has become a GOP target following former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims about election fraud.
It is the latest of several refusals by a state court to invalidate Pennsylvania's 2019 mail-in voting law, enacted barely months before the COVID-19 pandemic began and Trump began attacking mail-in voting.
In the lawsuit filed last year, 14 current and former Republican state lawmakers said the court must invalidate the law because two earlier court decisions triggered a provision written that says the law is “void” if any of its requirements are struck down in court.
The law has a requirement that voters must hand-write a date on the outer envelope of their mail-in ballot in order for the ballot to be counted. The Republicans argued that the two earlier court decisions refused to enforce the hand-written date requirement — meaning the law should be thrown out.
But the Commonwealth Court, in a 24-page opinion, unanimously found that the court decisions did not invalidate “the dating provision” of the law. It dismissed the lawsuit, in favor of Gov. Josh Shapiro's administration and the national and state Democratic parties.
Democrats hailed the ruling for protecting the opportunity to vote by mail. Shapiro's administration said over the past three years, more than 7.5 million Pennsylvanians have voted by mail.
“We are pleased that today’s court ruling allows all eligible voters to continue exercising their fundamental right to vote using this secure, accessible method,” Shapiro's administration said in a statement.
Greg Teufel, the lawyer for the 14 Republican lawmakers, said he expects to appeal to the state Supreme Court, which has twice upheld the mail-in voting law against previous Republican-backed challenges.
In an interview, Teufel said he disagreed with the court's rationale, saying that the court is ignoring the plain language of the law.
“They’re sidestepping a critical issue, just pretending they don’t see it,” Teufel said.