A pair of looming state court cases could significantly curtail mail voting ahead of the midterms — one of Republicans’ major goals since former President Donald Trump went to war against the practice in 2020.
The state Supreme Courts in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are both hearing major voting cases after conservative victories in lower courts. In Wisconsin, a judge in January ruled in favor of banning drop boxes for the return of absentee ballots. In Pennsylvania, the legal challenge went bigger, throwing out the state’s relatively new law allowing anyone to vote by mail without an excuse.
Both lower court rulings were put on hold during the state Supreme Court appeals. But a final ruling overturning Pennsylvania’s new voting law would arguably be the biggest change in election law since the presidential election: More than 2.6 million people there — nearly two-thirds of them registered Democrats, according to the U.S. Elections Project — cast ballots by mail in 2020….
The litigation has created significant uncertainty for election officials in Pennsylvania, which already is looking at the potential of a delayed primary due to the battle over the state’s political lines.
“All this takes many weeks and months to prepare for,” said Al Schmidt, a former Philadelphia elections official who is now the president and CEO of the good governance group Committee of Seventy, which supports mail voting in the state. “It is significant and shouldn’t ever wait until the last minute. Election administrators need certainty more than anything else, regardless of what the law is.”