The press release below was originally distributed by the ACLU, NAACP, Public Interest Law Center, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Common Cause and League of Women Voters of the United States and republished with permission.
The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania ruled today that state law allows county bureaus of elections to set up drop boxes and satellite offices to accept mail and absentee ballots.
In a lawsuit brought by the Pennsylvania Democratic party, the court also found that Pennsylvania law requiring all mail and absentee ballots to be delivered to the county elections office by 8 p.m. on Election Day is unconstitutional under the state constitution during the coronavirus pandemic and because of problems documented with the postal service, and that ballots that arrive by 5 p.m. on Friday, November 6, will be counted, provided there is no evidence that the ballots were mailed after Election Day.
A team of voting rights advocates first attempted to intervene in the case and then, when their motion was denied, filed a friend-of-the-court brief. The brief was filed by Black Political Empowerment Project, Common Cause Pennsylvania, League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, and Make The Road Pennsylvania. In its ruling, the court agreed with most of the advocates’ positions.
The advocates are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, the ACLU Voting Rights Project, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Public Interest Law Center, and the law firm WilmerHale.
The following is reaction to today’s ruling:
Reggie Shuford, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania: “Today’s ruling is a win for voters. This case has always been about promoting safe access to the ballot for all eligible voters in the commonwealth, and the court understood the importance of lowering barriers to voting.”
Sarah Brannon, managing attorney with the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project: “This is a huge victory for voting rights and for the millions of Pennsylvanians who wish to vote safely in the November election.”