PA mail-in voting law gets beaten up on GOP campaign trail

State Bar & Other Associations

Election integrity and Pennsylvania’s mail-in voting law are prominent subjects in the state’s Republican primary contest for an open state Supreme Court seat, as Donald Trump continues to baselessly claim that the 2020 election was stolen.

This year, two GOP primary rivals for the state Supreme Court seat in Tuesday’s primary election are signaling their disapproval of Pennsylvania’s expansive mail-in voting law.

In one appearance last month, Carolyn Carluccio, a Montgomery County judge, called the mail-in voting law “bad” for the state and for faith in elections. She suggested elections are too “secretive” and promised that if the law comes before the high court “I’m going to be happy to take a look at it.”

Meanwhile, Patricia McCullough, a judge on the statewide Commonwealth Court, repeatedly highlights her rulings in election-related cases, including voting to throw out the mail-in voting law.

“Election integrity, that seems to be like the most important issue to the people right now,” McCullough told an interviewer on public access television in Erie last month.

Both parties will pick a high court nominee to run in November’s general election. The state’s highest court currently has four justices elected as Democrats and two as Republicans. The seat is open following the death of Chief Justice Max Baer last fall.

Allegations about election fraud and opposition to Pennsylvania’s mail-in voting law have persisted in Republican primaries in 2021 and 2022, demonstrating just how influential Trump’s extreme and baseless election claims are to the GOP campaign trail.

In last year’s governor’s race, for instance, every candidate in the GOP’s nine-person field vowed to repeal the 2019 law that established no-excuse mail-in voting in Pennsylvania.

A third Republican-backed challenge to the mail-in voting law is pending in state courts, while Republicans have repeatedly gone to court to try to ensure that ballots cast by legal, eligible voters are thrown out for technical errors, like a missing envelope, signature or date.

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