Election Integrity activists have led the attack on Pennsylvania’s current voting law and, specifically, they want its validation of no-excuse absentee ballots to be eliminated.
Regardless as to whether Senate candiate Dave McCormick’s electoral challenge will salvage his political effort after a recount, his lawsuit must be supported, for it provides a shortcut to kill Act 77.
In January, the Commonwealth Court ruled Act 77 was unconstitutional, reasoning that I vigorously supported.
Yet, this issue is stuck in the PA Supreme Court, probably due to “politics” because its Democrat-majority can’t discern a cognizable method to refute these analyses.
Recently, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled it’s “immaterial” that the outside envelope of an absentee ballot be dated; its timely return could easily be validated by noting the postmark and confirming the date when it had been received by the county election officials.
This mandate is in Act 77: “Section 1306. Voting by Absentee Electors.–(a) … The elector shall then fill out, date and sign the declaration printed on such envelope.”
Pivotal is its non-severability clause: “Section 11. … If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remaining provisions or applications of this act are void.”
Litigating this via the federal court precludes the ability of the Pennsylvania Supremes to be dilatory when faced with an obvious glitch in the law; it’s doubtful that the SCOTUS would intervene when the lower court had already ruled.
This is black-letter language that seemingly provides no legal wiggle-room. Thus, dumping Act 77 “ab initio” [from the date when it was signed] would invalidate non-excuse absentee voting.
This has been the cause célèbre of electoral reform advocates, for it carries profound implications.