Pennsylvania Republicans Challenge Ballot Return Practice

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Last week, two Republican members of the Pennsylvania House filed a new lawsuit challenging absentee voting procedures in the state. 

The plaintiffs allege that the Pennsylvania Department of State’s guidance for returning absentee ballots runs afoul of the Pennsylvania Constitution. Currently, voters can submit absentee ballots to their local board of elections and some counties allow voters to use county drop boxes, county dropoff sites or satellite county election offices. 

The plaintiffs allege that this violates the state constitution, which they argue only allows the return of absentee ballots to the voter’s “election district.” An election district is a local polling place or precinct, and counties are comprised of multiple “election districts,” polling places or precincts. 

The Republican plaintiffs request that the court prohibit county boards from counting ballots that are not cast within the polling place or precinct where the voter lives. If this argument is accepted, this could vastly limit where voters could return their absentee ballots. 

The petitioners, state House Reps. Kathy L. Rapp (R) and David Zimmerman (R) were two of the 26 Pennsylvania House Republicans who attempted to withdraw certification of Pennsylvania’s 2020 presidential election results. Previously, these legislators also challenged Pennsylvania’s no-excuse mail-in voting law, Act 77, despite having voted for the law themselves. The challenge was unsuccessful and Act 77 remains in place. 

Read the complaint here.

Learn more about the case here.