Pennsylvania Supreme Court upholds state's no-excuses mail-in ballot law in blow to GOP

Democrat justices concluded nothing in state constitution prohibits widespread use of absentee ballots, reversing lower court.
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Pennsylvania election staff
Pennsylvania election staff
(Jeff Swensen/Getty)

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled Tuesday the 2019 law expanding the state's mail-in voting was constitutional, overruling Republicans who argued no-excuse absentee voting should be outlawed.

The Democrat-led court ruled 5-2 to uphold law known as Act 77 — with the court's two Republicans voting against — all but ensuring wide-spread mail-in voting will be available in Pennsylvania for the mid-term elections that will decide control of Congress. Pennsylvania features a contest for the open Senate seat. 

"Nothing in the recorded procedures of the constitutional convention resulting in the 1838 Constitution suggests the intent to intermingle qualifications of voters with the method of voting," the court concluded.

"Nothing in Article VII prohibits the legislature from eliminating the ability of qualified voters to cast their votes by mail, just as nothing in the Constitution required it to do so."

More than half of states now allow no-excuse absentee voting. Pennsylvania joined them in 2019, when Wolf agreed to a deal that also got rid of the straight-ticket voting by party option on ballots.