HARRISBURG — Today, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania upheld Act 77 of 2019, Pennsylvania’s vote-by-mail law, and overturned a lower court ruling that had declared the law unconstitutional.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, Public Interest Law Center, and Pitt law professor Jessie Allen filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, arguing that the state constitution allows the General Assembly to expand access to absentee voting beyond those categories of voters who are specifically named in the constitution. The following statement can be attributed to Witold Walczak, legal director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania:
“Today’s ruling is a victory for democracy. For decades, the state legislature expanded access to absentee voting without legal challenge. Just like the prior enlargements, the legislature’s 2019 expansion of vote-by-mail is constitutional, secure, and convenient for 21st century voters, who live busy and sometimes unpredictable lives. The changes allowed millions of Pennsylvania voters to vote by mail in the last five elections.
“We are gratified that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld the law. And we will remain vigilant to challenge any further attempts to limit Pennsylvania voters’ ability to cast their ballots.”
The following statement can be attributed to Reggie Shuford, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania:
“It was only 57 years ago that the United States made democracy more accessible and protected the right to vote with the passage of the Voting Rights Act. That right has always been under attack. In recent years, however, we’ve seen renewed efforts by some to roll back access to the franchise. Losing the right to vote puts us on a fast track to losing our democracy. We should be finding ways to expand the right to vote, not shrink it. Ensuring Pennsylvanians have the right to vote by mail is a proven way to do that. We applaud today’s ruling by the state Supreme Court.”
You can read more about the challenges to Act 77 here.