Republicans Lose Court Challenge to Mail-In Voting in PA

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In this Nov. 7, 2020, file photo, a woman displays a button that says “Black votes count” while celebrating outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia after Democrat Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump to become 46th president of the United States. Biden won in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia because of Black voters, many of them concentrated in big cities.
In this Nov. 7, 2020, file photo, a woman displays a button that says “Black votes count” while celebrating outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia after Democrat Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump to become 46th president of the United States. Biden won in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia because of Black voters, many of them concentrated in big cities.

The top judges in a critical swing state upheld a 2019 law allowing any registered voter to cast a ballot by mail, setting up a likely battle before a conservative U.S. Supreme Court with Republicans bent on limiting methods of voting.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that the law, Act 77 of 2019, didn’t violate the state’s constitution. The law expanded mail-in voting in Pennsylvania to any voter compared with the previous procedure which required voters to have an exception allowing them to vote by mail.

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Mail-in voting was popular with residents and lawmakers of both parties in PA at the time; the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette noted that the law passed the state’s GOP-controlled legislature “with nearly unanimous support.” But that was before Pennsylvania—specifically Black voters in deep blue Philadelphia, it’s more moderate suburbs and solidly blue Allegheny County in the western half of the state—helped tip the state for President Joe Biden, a Democrat, over Republican former President Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

Trump launched his “Big Lie” propaganda and legal effort to illegitimize the election results shortly thereafter. In addition to efforts that are being investigated such as his role in the insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021, and Trump’s attempt to overturn election results in Georgia, the ex-prez has also pointed to mail-in and other absentee voting methods across the country as rife with fraud and reasons why he lost. No such fraud has been discovered in Pennsylvania or elsewhere, but that hasn’t stopped Republican officials from seeking to undo vote-by-mail, which is very popular with Black voters and other considered likely Democratic partisans.