The Pennsylvania Supreme Court did exactly what it should have done Saturday and dismissed Reps. Mike Kelly and Sean Parnell’s blatant attempt to disenfranchise millions of the state’s voters who used mail-in ballots during the recent presidential election. Kelly and Parnell, who both represent Pennsylvania voters, joined petitioners Thomas Frank, Nancy Kierzek, Derek Magee, Robin Sauter, and Wanda Logan in trying to declare mail-in voting unconstitutional more than one year after a provision of Pennsylvania law legalizing it. It was a failed attempt to stall the state’s certification of President-elect Joe Biden's win.
“As a remedy, Petitioners sought to invalidate the ballots of the millions of Pennsylvania voters who utilized the mail-in voting procedures established by Act 77 and count only those ballots that Petitioners deem to be ‘legal votes,’” the court said in its order. “Alternatively, Petitioners advocated the extraordinary proposition that the court disenfranchise all 6.9 million Pennsylvanians who voted in the General Election and instead ‘direct the General Assembly to choose Pennsylvania’s electors.’
“Upon consideration of the parties’ filings in Commonwealth Court, we hereby dismiss the petition for review with prejudice based upon Petitioners’ failure to file their facial constitutional challenge in a timely manner.”
Justice David Wecht wrote in his concurring statement that Republican politician Logan “ran and lost in a special election in February” and Kelly and Parnell participated in the 2020 primary elections, but “it occurred to none of them to challenge the constitutionality of Act 77 before then.” Wecht continued that petitioners “play a dangerous game at the expense of every Pennsylvania voter.”
“Unsatisfied with the results of that wager, they would now flip over the table, scattering to the shadows the votes of millions of Pennsylvanians,” Wecht wrote. “It is not our role to lend legitimacy to such transparent and untimely efforts to subvert the will of Pennsylvania voters. Courts should not decide elections when the will of the voters is clear.”
Justice Thomas Saylor and Justice Sallie Mundy only agreed in part with the majority opinion as evidenced by Saylor’s concurring and dissenting statement. He wrote that "injunctive relief restraining certification of the votes of Pennsylvanians cast in the 2020 general election should not have been granted and is unavailable in the present circumstances" but that he finds the challenge "presents troublesome questions about the constitutional validity of the new mail-in voting scheme."
So let’s resist the temptation to focus exclusively on President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.