PA’s no-excuse absentee ballot system violates the state’s constitution, because the state’s constitution lists explicit reasons that must be true before a person can cast an absentee ballot. A new lawsuit seeks to have the absentee ballots thrown out. – I just find it oddly coincidental that no-excuse mail-in voting was approved by a Republican legislature right before a pandemic hits.
Red State reports:
Yesterday several Pennsylvania Republican Party officials and individual Republican voters filed a lawsuit in state court seeking to obtain declaratory and injunctive relief based on a claim that the legislation which adopted “no excuse” eligibility for absentee voting was an illegitimate amendment of the Pennsylvania State Constitution…
Here is the issue as presented by the Complaint — the Pennsylvania Constitution sets forth the basis upon which voters (“electors”) may cast an absentee ballot, and Act 77 did not “amend” the State Constitution as has been done in the past when changes were made to the Absentee Ballot provisions. Section 14 of the Pennsylvania Constitution Reads:
Sec. 14. Absentee voting.
(a) The Legislature shall, by general law, provide a manner in which … qualified electors who … are unable to attend at their proper polling places because of illness or physical disability … may vote, and for the return and canvass of their votes in the district in which they respectively reside.
The Complaint alleges that the Pennsylvania State Constitution requires in-person voting, and the only recognized exception to this requirement is the options reflected in Sec. 14, which were added to the Constitution via the accepted Amendment process in 1967. Sec. 14 sets forth four specific bases for a qualified voter to cast an absentee vote under the Constitution: 1) the voter will be absent from their municipality because duties, occupation, or business needs require them to be elsewhere; 2) illness or physical disability; 3) observance of a religious holiday, and 4) due to status as a county worker.
If the state constitution means anything, all the absentee ballots should be thrown out or the election should be declared unresolved, barring electors from being sent. We’ll see if this makes it to the SCOTUS.