Last Tuesday, Pennsylvania's state Supreme Court, once again, rejected a Republican challenge to the state constitutionality of an absentee ballot voting provision adopted by Republicans themselves.
The decision, affirming the expansion of the methods by which state voters may cast a vote --- in a state where absentee voting had long been highly restricted --- represents a win for democracy and, potentially, for the prospects of Democratic Party candidates in upcoming statewide contests.
It wasn't the first such challenge to the Keystone State's bipartisan legislation extending the right to cast an absentee ballot to all lawfully registered voters.The provision was part of a landmark 2019 election reform law, Act 77, adopted by the GOP-majority state legislature and signed by PA's two-term Democratic Governor, Tom Wolf.
In McLinko v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania this past week, a majority of the state's high court, yet again, rejected a Republican challenge to the law.
On Nov. 21, 2020, Republicans presented the same argument when they petitioned to stop the counting of votes cast during the 2020 Presidential Election. At the time, the PA Supremes didn't rule on the constitutionality of Act 77. Instead, the Court denied the Republican challenge under the doctrine of laches, in which a Party who fails to seek relief in a timely manner will be barred from seeking it.
Republicans, who could have challenged the constitutionality of mail-in voting before the state's June 2, 2020 Primary, chose instead to wait until after Joseph R. Biden was declared the state's projected winner in the general election that November before they moved to contest Act 77's constitutionality.
This time around, the Court considered and rejected the GOP's constitutional challenge on the merits...