Late in the day on Saturday the Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismissed with prejudice the complaint filed by GOP Congressman Mike Kelly, failed GOP candidate Sean Parnell, and others, claiming that the “no excuse” mail-in ballot option created by the Pennsylvania legislature in 2019 violated Section 14 of Pennsylvania Constitution. That Section limits “absentee” voting to four narrow categories of “absent electors”. The complaint alleged that because Section 14 is itself a constitutional limit on exceptions to in-person voting, the no-excuse mail-in voting statute worked as a de facto amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution without going through the required process for amending the Constitution.
Without addressing the merits of the complaint in any fashion, the Court ordered the case dismissed on the equitable grounds of “laches”, finding that the “facial” challenge to the constitutionality of Act 77, the law which created no-excuse mail-in balloting, was a matter the plaintiffs could have brought the time the Act was passed. The Court found a lack of diligence from the fact that they did nothing for more than a year, during which time both a primary and general election took place in which “no-excuse” mail-in voting procedures were employed.
I’m going to make a point here, at the outset, that is somewhat out of place because I want the readers to keep it in mind as they read through the remainder of this article.
The Kelly complaint alleges that Act 77 changed the voting process in Pennsylvania in a manner that amended the Pennsylvania Constitution, without going through the process for making amendments to the Constitution as set forth therein.
The opponents of the Kelly complaint — joined by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in dismissing the complaint — are possessed by the issue of whether millions of Pennsylvania electors will be “disenfranchised if “no-excuse” absentee voting is declared to be invalid due to the complaint.
What I have not seen commented on — and that failure is why I put this issue here at the top — is that one of the approvals required in the process for amending the Pennsylvania Constitution is that proposed Amendments must receive a majority vote of Pennsylvania electors in a general election.
The voters of Pennsylvania were entitled to have a say in
whether the Constitution’s provisions regarding elections and voting
should be amended. The General Assembly, Governor, Secretary of the
Commonwealth, and County Boards of Election DISENFRANCHISED Pennsylania
voters by imposing a “no-excuse” change to the “absentee ballot”
provisions of the Constitution without first getting their approval.