In LDF-Backed Lawsuit, Pennsylvania Court Overturns Unconstitutional No-Excuse Mail Voting Law
On January 28, 2022, LDF achieved a major victory before the en banc Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court in an action challenging Act 77, Pennsylvania’s unconstitutional no-excuse absentee voting law. Act 77 was enacted in 2019 to allow any voter to cast a ballot by mail. But Act 77 directly conflicted with the state constitution concerning who is lawfully permitted to vote by mail. The Pennsylvania constitution––Art. VII, Sec. 14––expressly limits mail voting to only certain qualifying electors; Act 77 unlawfully circumvented Sec. 14 to allow anyone to vote by mail.
The Commonwealth Court struck down the law as an unlawful expansion of who may vote by mail: “An amendment to our Constitution that ends the requirement of in-person voting is the necessary prerequisite to the legislature’s establishment of a no-excuse mail-in voting system.” [Op. at 35.]
LDF applauds the en banc Commonwealth Court’s holding, for it is a major victory for the rule of law and election integrity in Pennsylvania. It is now clear that if Pennsylvania wants to enact no-excuse absentee voting, it must do what has long been required to expand who can vote by mail: pass a constitutional amendment and let the voters of Pennsylvania decide.
To view LDF’s press release, please click here.
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Florida’s New Voting Laws
Florida recently enacted Senate Bill 90, an elections omnibus that enhances Florida’s already strong election integrity policies by adding several integrity reforms while continuing to make it easy for voters to participate in the political process.
Several lawsuits were filed to challenge a handful of S.B. 90’s 32 sections on the grounds that certain provisions place an unconstitutional burden on the fundamental right to vote under the Fourteenth Amendment. In early 2021, a federal court struck down 3 of the challenged provisions but left the remaining provisions in place.
LDF published a memo examining the challenged provisions of S.B. 90 by highlighting similar, valid election procedures already in use by numerous states across the country to demonstrate the degree to which S.B. 90’s puts Florida solidly within the mainstream.
To read LDF’s voting law fact sheet, click here.
Montana’s Repeal of Election Day Registration
In passing H.B. 176 (2021), Montana became the first and only state to ever repeal Election Day Registration after implementing it. In doing so, the legislature sought to ease the administrative burden on election officials, reduce long lines at polling locations, and strengthen election integrity, all while still allowing voters to utilize Same Day Registration during the early voting period until noon the day before the election.
LDF published an in-depth memo exploring the benefits and drawbacks of Election Day Registration and why Montana’s recent repeal makes a meaningful difference for efficient and secure elections. Additionally, LDF’s memo explains how, rather than being a partisan tool, H.B. 176 provides a road map for how states can go about amending or repealing unsuccessful and burdensome election reforms.
To read LDF’s memo in full, click here.
LDF Calls for Clear Redistricting Standards at the U.S. Supreme Court
LDF filed an amicus brief at United States Supreme Court to advocate for clear legal standards for redistricting maps in Merrill v. Milligan, consolidated with Merrill v. Caster.
In its brief, LDF highlighted the dilemma states face in the redistricting process as they attempt to comply with both Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires the consideration of race in the redistricting process, and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, which restricts the use of race. LDF asks the Supreme Court to issue clear and meaningful standards that states can use in the redistricting process going forward to avoid unnecessary litigation.
LDF Executive Director Lisa Dixon published an op-ed titled “Mail-in-Voting-for-All Act 77 to blame for Pennsylvania’s primary woes“ in the Pennsylvania Record detailing Pennsylvania’s recent primary election blunders caused by Act 77, Pennsylvania’s no-excuse mail voting law. Nearly 16,000 mail ballots––two-thirds of all mail ballots returned [in Lancaster County]––had to…
In passing H.B. 176 (2021), Montana became the first and only state to ever repeal Election Day Registration after implementing it. In doing so, the legislature sought to ease the administrative burden on election officials, reduce long lines at polling locations, and strengthen election integrity, all while still allowing…
On Monday, May 2, 2022, Lawyers Democracy Fund (LDF) filed an amicus brief at United States Supreme Court to advocate for clear legal standards for redistricting maps in Merrill v. Milligan, consolidated with Merrill v. Caster. The issue before the United States Supreme Court is whether the State of Alabama’s 2021…