Pennsylvania Court Decides Mail-In Voting Is Illegal Now That Democrats Are Doing It

"Big news out of Pennsylvania, great patriotic spirit is developing at a level that nobody thought possible. Make America Great Again!" screeched the former president on his MyFakeTwitterbook page. The "News Alert" was captioned "ICYMI: 'Court ruling puts mail-in voting on hold in Pennsylvania'" and linked to a local Fox affiliate's story on a decision handed down this morning by Pennsylvania's appellate court.

Clearly he didn't read the article, which states that "Joe Biden won the election over Donald Trump by 80,000 votes." And he probably didn't read the case, either, judging by the vague wording of the "alert" itself.

What really happened is that the three Republicans on a five-judge panel struck down Act 77, the 2019 statute which allowed for no-excuse absentee ballots, finding that it violates the Pennsylvania constitution. If they were animated by great patriotic spirit at a level nobody thought possible, they made no mention of it.


The plaintiff is a local election official who claims he cannot possibly process mail-in ballots during the upcoming midterms without violating the state's constitution.

"Our Supreme Court has specifically held that the phrase 'offer to vote' requires the physical presence of the elector, whose 'ballot cannot be sent by mail or express, nor can it be cast outside of all Pennsylvania election districts and certified into the county where the voter has his domicile,'” Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt wrote.

Which is somewhat disingenuous, since the Pennsylvania Supreme Court refused to overturn the mail-in ballot law in 2020 when a bunch of Republicans tried to overturn it and get millions of votes tossed out simply because they were cast by absentee ballot. Now Yr Wonkette will acknowledge that the state Supreme Court blocked the challenge because the plaintiffs had waited until years after the law had passed to challenge it. Because Yr Wonkette does not act in recklessly bad faith. Unlike every Republican involved in both the 2020 and 2021 cases.

Because this was a Republican law, passed with overwhelming Republican support when they thought Democrats wouldn't use absentee ballots and so it would give Trump and the rest of the GOP candidates in Pennsylvania an advantage. As the Fox article Trump linked to points out, "Republicans voted in near unanimity for Act 77; 27-0 in the Senate, and 105-2 in the House. Democrats offered no support in the Senate, and were split in the lower chamber, 59 against, 33 for." In fact, 10 of the 14 plaintiffs in the 2020 suit voted in favor this law.

It was only after Trump dragged the Republican Party into the weeds with lies about voter fraud and his desperate attempt to overturn a loss in the swing states that the GOP brain trust decided their own statute was unconstitutional and sued to overturn it. As the Pennsylvania Supreme Court noted at the time, "The want of due diligence demonstrated in this matter is unmistakable," adding that allowing them to challenge the law after the election would result in "substantial prejudice" and "the disenfranchisement of millions of Pennsylvania voters."

The 2021 case was at least filed in timely fashion, since voting has not yet begun. But it still faces an uncertain fate in the Supreme Court, after the state's attorney general filed an immediate appeal, putting the ruling on hold.

"This opinion is based on twisted logic and faulty reasoning, and is wrong on the law. It will be immediately appealed and therefore won’t have any immediate impact on Pennsylvania’s upcoming elections," tweeted Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat who is running for governor. "The issue will now go before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and we are confident that Act 77 will ultimately be upheld as constitutional."

But if Republicans want to run on a platform of giving and then taking away the right to vote from the convenience of their constituents' own living rooms, they can have at it.

[Fox 43 / McLinko v. Commonwealth]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.

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