For Immediate Release:
July 21, 2020
PITTSBURGH – Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture) and the Sierra Club just filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit in which the Republican National Committee and the Trump Reelection Campaign are challenging several measures that Pennsylvania has in place which provide its voters with a safe and more accessible voting experience, including the expansion of mail-in ballots available to all registered voters.
“Expanded vote-by-mail is essential to ensure that Pennsylvania voters can safely cast their ballots and have their voices heard despite the coronavirus pandemic,” said Jacquelyn Bonomo, President and CEO of PennFuture, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization advocating for environmental protections and just environmental policies in Pennsylvania. The group works to boost participation in the electoral process, especially by voters from underrepresented communities.
Plaintiffs, including the Republican National Committee, President Trump’s reelection campaign, and four members of Congress, have sued Commonwealth Secretary Boockvar and election officials regarding the administration of Act 77, which allows all Pennsylvania voters to vote by mail. Their challenge is based on the false premise that voting by mail “invites fraud and undermines the public’s confidence in the integrity of elections,” when in fact measures such as vote-by-mail increase voter participation.
“A strong democracy depends on the direct participation of the people and this lawsuit only adds to the difficulty many Pennsylvanians are already facing. By imposing this barrier on voters during the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump Campaign and the RNC are forcing Pennsylvanians to choose between their health and safety and their involvement in our democracy,” said Tom Torres, Director of the Sierra Club’s Pennsylvania Chapter.
PennFuture and the Sierra Club argue that the lawsuit seeks to impose unnecessary burdens on Pennsylvanians’ ability to vote that will increase risk to voters, for example by demanding restrictions on where voters may return mailed ballots (requiring some voters to travel long distances or incur expense to have their ballot counted). Plaintiffs also seek to eliminate measures that protect Pennsylvania voters against intimidation and harassment by outside interlopers.
“Plaintiffs seek to reduce the choices Pennsylvania voters have for casting their ballots, while increasing the choices that outsiders have for harassing and intimidating those voters,” said Myrna Perez, director of the Voting Rights and Elections Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law. “We’re in this fight to make sure they don’t succeed.”
PennFuture and the Sierra Club are represented in this case by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law.
The Motion to Intervene is here.
Case background is here.