Widespread mail-in voting has changed the face of elections in America. However, one swing state has just outlawed the practice going forward.
The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania has blocked mail-in balloting except for those who have a valid reason, the Post Millenial reported. This decision Friday nullifies Act 77 enacted in 2019 to allow for no-excuse vote-by-mail.
The decision was 3-2 and cut along party lines with the Republican judges voting to abolish the rule and the two Democrats voting against it. The supporting opinion filed by Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt acknowledged the link between the practice and the potential for fraud.
“Since 1838, the Pennsylvania Constitution has required a qualified elector to appear at a polling place in the election district where he resides and on Election Day,” she wrote. “This requirement was adopted ‘thereby to exclude disqualified pretenders and fraudulent voters of all sorts,'” she noted.
“No-excuse mail-in voting makes the exercise of the franchise more convenient and has been used four times in the history of Pennsylvania,” the opinion went on. “Approximately 1.38 million voters have expressed their interest in voting by mail permanently. If presented to the people, a constitutional amendment to end the Article VII, Section 1 requirement of in-person voting is likely to be adopted,” Leavitt proposed.
Former President Donald Trump also touted the decision in a statement. “Big news out of Pennsylvania, great patriotic spirit is developing at a level that nobody thought possible. Make American Great Again!”
Trump had sounded the alarm of the potential pitfalls of the practice before the 2020 presidential election and specifically in Pennsylvania, according to Fox News. The state allowed ballots to be accepted after Election Day, a practice many worried was an invitation for fraud.
Limiting vote-by-mail is not about voter suppression but rather about making sure ballots are properly cast and counted. This recent ruling gives assurances back to the residents of Pennsylvania that their elections process will do just that.