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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Overturns State Judge’s Order, Reinstates Voting by Mail

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that the state’s mail-in voting law will remain in place, at least for the near future.

“The justices issued a one-paragraph order that overturned a Feb. 16 decision by Commonwealth Court Senior Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt that would have pulled the plug on the state’s 2-year-old voting law,” The Morning Call reported.

“The Supreme Court planned to hold an oral argument regarding the legal challenge to the law Tuesday. The justices’ decision to invalidate Leavitt’s order gives them more time to rule without facing a one-week deadline. They said the law will remain in place, pending further action by the high court,” the outlet added.

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Last month, Commonwealth Court Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt ruled that a previous decision reversing the current “universal mail-in ballot law” will stand and take effect in March.

Leavitt wrote last month that the state’s mail-in ballot law violated the state Constitution.

Leavitt said, “Republicans who challenged the law are likely to prevail when the state Supreme Court reviews the case in March.”

“No-excuse mail-in voting makes the exercise of the franchise more convenient and has been used four times in the history of Pennsylvania,” Leavitt wrote in her opinion in late January. 

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“Approximately 1.38 million voters have expressed their interest in voting by mail permanently. If presented to the people, a constitutional amendment… is likely to be adopted. But a constitutional amendment must be presented to the people,” she said.

In other words, you cannot simply make up rules on the fly sans the benefit of actually changing the state Constitution to make them legal.

The judge noted that an appeal by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration “assumes the higher court will overrule decisions that were rendered in 1862 and 1924, which would invalidate laws passed to expand absentee voting.” 

Leavitt noted that Wolf’s administration lawyers did not assert the 1862 or 1924 rulings were in error. 

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The case will go to the state Supreme Court on March 8.

Republicans have assailed Pennsylvania mail-in ballot laws and vote counting policies, including one that allowed mail-in ballots to be recorded up to three days after the election so as long as they were postmarked by Election Day.

Former President Donald Trump celebrated the news last month in an email to supporters.

“Big news out of Pennsylvania, great patriotic spirit is developing at a level that nobody thought possible. Make America Great Again!” he said.

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The Democrat Pennsylvania State Attorney General does not want Republicans to proceed with their plans for the state’s election audit and he is stepping in to stop them.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro attempted late last year to block Republican state lawmakers from using a particular company to audit the results of Pennsylvania’s 2020 election.

Shapiro filed a court brief arguing that Envoy Sage LLC should not be given access to the personal data of more than nine million Pennsylvanians.

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Shapiro said Envoy has no election experience and only has two employees.

Republican lawmakers hired Envoy Sage to do a forensic audit of the 2020 general election results and the results of this year’s May primary.

“PA Republicans want to send the personal, private information of nine-million Pennsylvanians to Envoy Sage LLC — a company led by a Republican donor with no experience in this work — to conduct their sham “audit.” It’s a violation of your privacy, and I’m suing to stop them,” the attorney general said.

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