Pennsylvania Court Rejects GOP Challenge to Mail-In Ballot Law

June 27, 2023

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania rejected an effort by Republican lawmakers to throw out the state’s broad mail-in ballot law.

The lawsuit was filed last year by 14 current and former GOP state lawmakers in the wake of former President Trump’s  baseless claims of election fraud following his 2020 election defeat.

The Republicans had asserted that the court must invalidate the state law because two earlier court decisions triggered a provision written into it that says it is “void” if any of its requirements are struck down in court.

Their argument centered on a state requirement that the voter handwrite a date on the outer envelope of the mail-in ballot for it to be counted. 

The suit, which challenged ballots cast for Democrat Josh Shapiro, who won last year’s gubernatorial election, followed a May 2022 ruling by Pennsylvania’s Third Circuit Court on a 2021 Lehigh County election. The Third Circuit overturned a State Supreme Court ruling that required voters to date their ballots’ outside envelopes or they’d be tossed.

Last year, the Pennsylvania Republican Senate primary came to a head between its two front-runners, Dr. Mehmet Oz, who was endorsed by Trump, and hedge fund CEO David McCormick, with Republicans backing Oz—including RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel—labeling the votes of their fellow Republicans invalid.

Oz won the primary by less than 1,000 votes in a recount but ultimately lost the Senate seat to then-Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D).

In a 24-page opinion the Commonwealth Court unanimously found that previous court decisions do not invalidate “the dating provision” of the law and dismissed the Republicans’ latest lawsuit, a win for Gov. Shapiro’s administration and the Democratic Party.

Greg Teufel, the Republicans’ attorney, said he expects to appeal the case to the State Supreme Court which has twice ruled that the outside envelope must be dated or the ballot must be tossed. 

Read more exclusive news from Political IQ.

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