State of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Act 77 Mail-in Voting Challenge

Bonner v. Chapman

Lawsuit filed on behalf of Republican members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives against Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Leigh M. Chapman (D) challenging Act 77 of the Pennsylvania Election Code. Act 77 is 2019 law that largely expanded mail-in voting opportunities in the Commonwealth. (The same plaintiffs already tried to eliminate no-excuse mail-in voting in the state in McLinko v. Degraffenreid, but the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld the law.) In their complaint, the plaintiffs argue that Act 77 should be struck down due its provision which states that “if any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remaining provisions or applications of this act are void” (in legal terms, this is known as a “nonseverability provision”). The plaintiffs contend that in light of a federal lawsuit, Migliori v. Lehigh County Board of Elections, in which the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals prohibited the application of two provisions of Act 77 requiring voters to date their outer secrecy envelopes for mail-in ballots, the entire law should be void. The petitioners request that the court declare all remaining provisions of Act 77 that are still in effect invalid. Litigation is ongoing.

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