In the wake of numerous reports of voter fraud in the 2020 election, 14 members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives filed suit to stop Act 77. The law allows any qualified voter to vote by mail; puts them on a list to permanently receive a ballot application by mail; and allows voters to cast a ballot up to 50 days before Election Day.
However, a five-judge Commonwealth Court panel of three Republicans and two Democrats ruled the measure unconstitutional.
Diane Gramley, president of the American Family Association of Pennsylvania, says the lower court did the right thing when it found that “no-excuse” mail-in ballots are unconstitutional.
“It was a party-line decision on the panel,” she says. “And the Republicans obviously can read the constitution while the Democrats seem to have a difficult time reading the constitution, which specifically says you can obtain an absentee ballot but you have specific reasons that you can request an absentee ballot."
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Act 77 was passed in the GOP-controlled legislature and signed by Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat. However, the then-new law was “complicated” by the state constitution because the legislature was not allowed to expand absentee voting, the newspaper said. The law instead created “mail-in” ballots that were described at the time as "historic" election reforms in the state.
Then came Election Day: President Trump lost the state to Joe Biden 50%-48%. Trump had won the state over Hillary Clinton in 2016 48%-47%. A million more votes were cast in 2020 than in 2016.
After the 2020 election, when Trump allegedly lost, state GOP lawmakers sued to stop the law that many had voted for, the Inquirer said.
According to Gramley, there are now bills in the state legislature to repeal portions of Act 77 and to amend the constitution to forbid mail-in ballots, too. Legislators introduced those bills, she says, after hearing "tons of complaints" from their angry constituents.