By a 3-2 ruling, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court agreed with that reasoning Friday.
“If presented to the people, a constitutional amendment to end Article VII, Section 1 requirement of in-person voting is likely to be adopted,” Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt wrote for the majority Friday. “But a constitutional amendment must be presented to the people and adopted into our fundamental law before legislation allowing no-excuse mail-in voting can be ‘placed upon our statute books.'”
The five-judge Commonwealth Court panel split along party lines, with the three Republican judges agreeing with the GOP petitioners and two Democrats dissenting.
Wanda Murren, communications director for the Pennsylvania Department of State, told CNN in an email statement that the state is working on an appeal to the state Supreme Court and “disagrees with today’s ruling.”
She also said in a follow-up statement that the decision would have “no immediate effect” on the state’s May primary elections and encouraged voters to request mail-in ballots.
The department “is notifying all county election boards that they should proceed with all primary election preparations as they were before today’s Commonwealth Court ruling. There should be no change in their procedures,” Murren said.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat who is running for governor this fall, slammed the decision, saying it was “based on twisted logic and faulty reasoning and is wrong on the law.”
“It will be immediately appealed and therefore won’t have any immediate impact on Pennsylvania’s upcoming elections. The issue will now go before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and we are confident that Act 77 will ultimately be upheld as constitutional,” Shapiro said in a. statement.
The state Supreme Court, where Democrats have a majority, has backed state’s expanded use of no-excuse absentee voting in previous rulings.
Trump praised Friday’s decision, saying in a statement that “great patriotic spirit is developing at a level nobody thought possible.”
He said in a statement that he plans to introduce legislation that will include components such as “voter ID, elimination of straight party voting, an end to drop-boxes, a ban on outside money, and a provision for independent audits of elections by third parties. ”
“My plan will expand access, increase integrity, and prevent fraud and give Pennsylvanians an election system they can believe in,” he added.
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