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A voter drops off a ballot in Pennsylvania

A voter arrives to drop off their ballot in Allentown, Pennsylvania on October 29, 2020. (Photo: Angela Weiss/Getty Images)

Rebuffing GOP Attack, Pennsylvania Supreme Court Upholds Universal Mail-In Voting

The ruling, said one advocate, "ensures that millions of Pennsylvania voters can continue to cast their ballots safely and conveniently in the manner they choose."

Jake Johnson

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a law that allows all of the state's registered voters to submit their ballots by mail, rebuffing an effort by Republican lawmakers to overturn a statute they supported years earlier.

In its ruling, the court's majority declared that "we find no restriction in our constitution on the General Assembly's ability to create universal mail-in voting." The court's two Republican justices, Sallie Updyke Mundy and Kevin Brobson, dissented.

"Act 77 was passed with strong bipartisan support for good reason—making voting easier and more accessible is the right thing to do."

The decision stems from a lawsuit that Pennsylvania Republicans filed in the summer of 2021 claiming that Act 77—a 2019 law allowing no-excuse vote-by-mail in the commonwealth—ran afoul of the state constitution and enabled fraud, a narrative that the GOP attempted to advance following former President Donald Trump's lie-riddled attacks on mail-in voting during the 2020 election.

Khalif Ali, executive director of Common Cause Pennsylvania, applauded the court's rejection of state Republicans' argument, declaring in a statement that the ruling represents "a major victory for voting rights."

"This decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to uphold Act 77 ensures that millions of Pennsylvania voters can continue to cast their ballots safely and conveniently in the manner they choose," said Ali. "Act 77 was passed with strong bipartisan support for good reason—making voting easier and more accessible is the right thing to do."

The court's ruling came less than 100 days before the midterm elections in which Pennsylvania will feature prominently, as the state could determine which party controls the U.S. Senate next year.

John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee in the race for the state's open Senate seat, celebrated the ruling in a series of tweets and blasted the Republicans who led the lawsuit after helping pass Act 77.

"I don't know anyone who needs to hear this," Fetterman wrote, "but voting in Pennsylvania is safe, open, and secure."


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