The legal challenge is the latest attempt by Republicans to invalidate the 2019 law that Republican lawmakers almost unanimously supported.
HARRISBURG — Fourteen Republican lawmakers have filed a new lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania’s mail-in voting law, calling it unconstitutional and asking for it to be thrown out.
The legal challenge was filed just before midnight Tuesday in the state Commonwealth Court. It is the latest attempt by Republicans to invalidate the 2019 law that Republican lawmakers almost unanimously supported.
The central claim of the lawsuit is that the law — which allowed no-excuse voting by mail — violates a constitutional provision that requires lawmakers to provide a way for people to vote if they are unable to vote in person for specific reasons.
Those reasons include being out of town on business, illness, physical disability, election day duties, or a religious observance. But the lawsuit contends that the 2019 law violates that by allowing people to vote by mail even if they do not meet one of those categories.
The Constitution does not explicitly say that the Legislature cannot extend absentee voting to others. Just over 2.5 million people voted under the law in 2020’s presidential election, most of them Democrats, out of 6.9 million total cast.
The 14 lawmakers are all members of the state House:
- Aaron Bernstine of Lawrence County
- Timothy Bonner of Mercer County
- Bob Brooks of Westmoreland County
- Bud Cook of Washington County
- Barbara Gleim of Cumberland County
- Mike Jones of York County
- Barry Jozwiak of Berks County
- Dawn Keefer of York County
- David Maloney of Berks County
- Dan Moul of Adams County
- Kathy Rapp of Warren County
- Frank Ryan of Lebanon County
- Timothy Twardzik of Schuylkill County
- David Zimmerman of Lancaster County
All of them voted for the legislation, except Zimmerman, who opposed it, and Bonner and Twardzik, who took office after the vote.
In a statement, Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, said the lawsuit is “not only the height of hypocrisy, but it also has real consequences and damages public trust in our elections.”
Republicans soured on mail-in voting last year after then-President Donald Trump began baselessly attacking it as rife with fraud and, later, claiming without evidence that the election was stolen from him in critical battleground states including Pennsylvania.
In one lawsuit last year, Republicans used a similar argument to invalidate the mail-in voting law and throw out all ballots cast under it.
The state Supreme Court threw it out, saying the plaintiffs — including US Rep. Mike Kelly and defeated congressional candidate Sean Parnell — “failed to act with due diligence” in waiting to challenge the law until after they saw Trump had lost the election.
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