As Pennsylvania’s acting secretary of state, Leigh Chapman oversees professional boxing, kickboxing, and wrestling. But those are hardly the most contentious items on her docket.
As the Keystone State’s chief elections officer, Chapman is embroiled in a knock-down, drag-out fight over ballot integrity that has Democrats and Republicans pounding each other sillier than 12th-round rivals.
Chapman and other Democrats consider mass mail-in ballots more precious than the world heavyweight championship. So, they argued Tuesday before Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court.
Pennsylvania’s top jurists—five appointed by Democrats, two by Republicans—heard Democrats appeal a lower court ruling Feb. 4 that found no-excuse, mail-in ballots unconstitutional under the supreme law of that land.
Ironically, Democrats defend a Republican-sponsored law. Act 77 of 2019 created Pennsylvania’s mail-in ballots.
That’s the problem.
GOP state lawmakers, who should have known better, applied bolt cutters to the chain of custody for ballots, aimed spotlights at secret ballots, and approved ballot trafficking/harvesting.
What could go wrong?
Everything—specifically, the biggest Trump state that slid into Joe Biden’s corner in 2016 and, with it, the White House.
Heckuva job, Pennsylvania GOP!
Republicans did the left’s bidding in exchange for eliminating electronic, straight-ticket voting. Although this might have seemed like a great idea at the time, GOP players either got tricked or talked themselves into snatching the short end of this political stick.
Whatever their motives, state legislators in Harrisburg simply passed a law to allow no-excuse, mail-in ballots.
Article VII § 14 of the Pennsylvania Constitution lets adult citizens vote absentee only because:
—“Their duties, occupation or business require them to be elsewhere.”
—“Illness or physical disability.”
—“Observance of a religious holiday.”
—“Election Day duties.”
Act 77 couldn’t care less.
Though tougher to establish than a mere law, Republicans needed a constitutional amendment to make mail-in ballots kosher. Instead, Act 77 is less kosher than a bacon cheeseburger.
A Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court panel agreed, 3-2. In a majority decision Jan. 28, Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt ruled that “a constitutional amendment must be presented to the people and adopted into our fundamental law before legislation authorizing no-excuse, mail-in voting can ‘be placed upon our statute books.’”
This judgment confirms what former President Donald Trump and his supporters have repeated since November 2020: Nonlegislative, state-level authorities perpetrated vote fraud by changing rules that only state legislators may revise.
Nonetheless, Democrats want Act 77 in place, to keep their absentee-vote machine humming along.
“If the relief requested by appellees is granted, then tens of thousands of Philadelphians will no longer be able to vote as they have in the past several elections,” Philadelphia’s Board of Elections briefed the court.
Fine. If helping tens of thousands of Philadelphians to vote is so pivotal, then amend the state Constitution accordingly.
As for Chapman, the acting secretary of state? As the former executive director of mail-in-ballot lobby Deliver My Vote and an alumna of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, she is just the sort of hard-left ally on whom Democrats can depend.
“Now I travel the state after litigating the bogus mail-in ballot law to its temporary demise, and the Republican legislators who created this monster often come up to congratulate me,” Bradford County Board of Elections member Doug McLinko lamented.
A co-founder of Ballot Security Now and this case’s chief plaintiff, McLinko told me: “When I ask them what they plan to do about Leigh Chapman, they look at me with confusion. They have no idea who she is, what she’s done, or what she’s here to do. Worse, they’re not even curious.”
The GOP lawmakers who started this whole mess must snap out of their slumber.
This case could prove pivotal this year, with control of Congress at stake. And in 2024, Pennsylvania’s highly coveted 19 Electoral College votes will be front and center in the quest for the presidency.
This is no time for Republicans to nap.
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