Cases September 9, 2022

Bonner v. Chapman — Vote by Mail, Severability (PA)

COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA
Issue Areas
Summary

On July 20, 2022, Republican members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives filed a lawsuit against Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Leigh M. Chapman and the Pennsylvania Department of State (“DOS”) challenging Act 77 of the Pennsylvania Election Code. The petitioners seek a declaration that all of Act 77 (providing for no excuse mail-in voting) is void. They argue that the US. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit’s decision in Miglioriwhich found that mail-in and absentee ballots without a handwritten date on the return envelope should be counted—invalidated the provisions of Act 77 related to ballot dating.  

Petitioners argue that all of Act 77—including provisions unrelated to mail-in voting—are void because the Act contains a “nonseverability clause,” which states that if any part of the Act is found to be invalid, the whole statute must be void.  

States United serves as pro-bono counsel for Acting Secretary Chapman and the DOS, and is co-counsel with Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller and the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General. 

Latest Update

The parties are currently engaged in dispositive briefing and oral argument will be held on October 12.

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