Pa. Supreme Court dismisses GOP challenge to mail-in voting law, lifts injunction

Ballot counting in Philadelphia
Election workers count ballots at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Nov. 6, 2020 in Philadelphia. Photo credit Chris McGrath/Getty Images

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has unanimously dismissed a lawsuit by Republican lawmakers claiming the state's mail-in voting law is unconstitutional, and lifted a Commonwealth Court injunction suspending certification of the vote.

The suit, filed by U.S. House Rep. Mike Kelly of western Pennsylvania, was dismissed with prejudice, meaning it cannot be refiled.

The state had already officially certified election results on Tuesday, declaring the Biden-Harris ticket as winners.

While Kelly's suit did not affect the certified results, Attorney General Josh Shapiro filed an appeal with the state's Supreme Court.

The Philadelphia Office of the City Commissioners said the city certification is complete and therefore not covered by the judge’s order either.

Read the opinion here.

The court said the lawmakers "failed to act with due diligence," waiting too long, until after the election and days before certification, to file a challenge to the state's year-old mail-in voting law.

In a concurring statement, Justice David Wecht noted there's no mechanism for the legislature to choose the state's electors, one of the suggestions the GOP lawmakers made in their suit.

This lawsuit was one of many that has gone through Pennsylvania's courts since Election Day, most of which were directly from the Trump camp, alleging unsubstantiated claims of fraud.

Last weekend, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected the Trump campaign's efforts to toss thousands of votes in Philadelphia and Allegheny counties, ruling there were no instances of fraud.

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, an outspoken critic of the Trump campaign lawsuits, pointed out that the mail-in voting law was sponsored by Republicans, with bipartisan support.

"Vote-by-mail was a GOP bill in the Pennsylvania legislature, 100%. They voted for it unanimously," he said. "They were litteraly working against their own interests to further function with this lawsuit. It's such an odd circular firing squad."

Fetterman also noted the suit, had it been successful, could have affected a lot more than the results of the presidential election.

"Tomorrow would have been the last day we would have had a Pennsylvania House of Representatives, because the term expires on Monday and half the Senate would have been wiped out too," he said.

The Democratic lieutenant governor said even though this was a courtroom loss for GOP lawmakers, it came with a high price.

"Its cost is profound in the amount of distrust and resentment and chaos," said Fetterman. "That's the real cost."

KYW Newsradio reached out to Kelly's office for comment, but calls were not immediately returned.

KYW Newsradio's Alex Silverman, Antionette Lee, and Justin Udo contributed to this report.