By now you have heard that the the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court yesterday issued a decision holding that non-excuse absentee voting law enacted by the Pennsylvania legislature was unconstitutional in violation of Article VII, Sect. 14 of the PA Constitution.
Both the Massachusetts and Pennsylvania state constitutions contain very similar provisions that strictly limit the circumstances when voters may cast ballots other than at local polling places. In order for the Legislature to change the way we vote they MUST follow the constitutional amendment process, which takes time and demands a vote at the ballot box. This drastic change in voting cannot be made by a simple majority vote of the Legislature.
I and others have filed litigation which is now on appeal challenging the constitutionality of Covid19 inspired changes to Massachusetts’ election laws that allow no-excuse, absentee voting. We are encouraged by Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court action yesterday which held that a similar no-excuse absentee voting law enacted by the Pennsylvania legislature was unconstitutional in violation of Article VII, Sect. 14 of the PA Constitution. The rule of law must be upheld, and the court did exactly that.
We have every reason to believe that the Massachusetts Appeals Court will make the same finding in our litigation. We call upon the legislature to reject proposed legislation which would make no-excuse absentee voting permanent before it is embarrassed by enacting an unconstitutional law.
PA Constitution Article VII, Section 14
The third relevant provision in Article VII of the Pennsylvania Constitution is Section 14, which states as follows:
(a) The Legislature shall, by general law, provide a manner in which, and the time and place at which, qualified electors who may, on the occurrence of any election, be absent from the municipality of their residence, because their duties, occupation
or business require them to be elsewhere or who, on the occurrence of any election, are unable to attend at their proper polling places because of illness or physical disability or who will not attend a polling place because of the observance of a religious holiday or who cannot vote because of election day duties, in the case of a county employee, may vote, and for the return and canvass of their votes in the election district in which they respectively reside.
(b) For purposes of this section, “municipality” means a city, borough, incorporated town, township or any similar general purpose unit of government which may be created by the General Assembly.
PA. CONST. art. VII, §14
Article XLV. The general court shall have power to provide by law for voting, in the choice of any officer to be elected or upon any question submitted at an election, by qualified voters of the commonwealth who, at the time of such an election, are absent from the city or town of which they are inhabitants or are unable by reason of physical disability to cast their votes in person at the polling places or who hold religious beliefs in conflict with the act of voting on the day on which such an election is to be held. (emphasis added)
Despite being ridiculed for taking legal action. Despite receiving no help from politicians and political parties, we are determined to persevere and have our day in court.
Please contact your State Representative and State Senator. Please tell them to “Halt” their unconstitutional actions based to make mail in voting permanent in Massachusetts. USE ACTION BUTTONS ABOVE.
I can be reached for comment by email or phone. (781)279-1197