A lawsuit focusing on Act 77 and Pennsylvania’s no excuse mail-in voting law appears to have reached its conclusion with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Monday to decline hearing the case.
The case, started by Representatives Timothy Bonner (R-17) and Dave Zimmerman (R-99), along with twelve other Pennsylvania Republican legislators, argued that Act 77’s provision for no excuse mail-in voting violated the Pennsylvania Constitution. In January 2022, a Commonwealth Court ruled in favor of the petitioners’ lawsuit, thus invalidating mail-in voting and Act 77. However, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court later overturned the Commonwealth Court’s decision, determining that no excuse mail-in voting does not violate the state constitution.
The appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was focused not on the Pennsylvania Constitution, but the U.S. Constitution. Greg Teufel, a Pittsburgh-based attorney who would have represented the petitioners in the mail-in voting case had it reached the U.S. Supreme Court, told The Lancaster Patriot that Article 1, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution requires “states to specify places of elections” – a requirement that no excuse mail-in voting violates.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Jan. 9 to deny certiorari in the case means that fewer than four justices determined that the details of the case warranted a review by the Supreme Court. The denial of the petition does not express the Court’s view of the merits of the case.
Though the lawsuit’s tumultuous journey appears to have reached its end, the issue of the constitutionality of no excuse mail-in voting and failing to prescribe places for elections in accordance with Article 1, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution could be revived in a soon-to-be-filed case in a federal district court.