We at POWER Interfaith support our partners at the ACLU in their challenge to the current Pennsylvania Mail Ballot rule that disenfranchised voters in the 2022 midterm election. Ballots with minor, immaterial technical errors, such as not having a dated envelope, have been segregated and not counted. As we have always held, every vote is sacred.
All of the ballots in question were cast by properly registered voters, and their votes were clearly indicated. This unfair technical standard is disproportionately impacting Black and Brown voters. Moreover, many of the ballots in question were cast by elders in our community, who have long, consistent voting histories. We know that the margins of victory in these races are significant enough that these ballots would not change the election results, but no one should be disenfranchised because of a simple technicality.
The ACLU will contend that the current rule is unconstitutional because it treats some mail ballots differently than others. The new pleading adds eight individuals from across the Commonwealth who were disenfranchised in the 2022 midterms due to the immaterial envelope-date requirement.
In response, POWER Interfaith leaders issued the following statements:
“In our democracy, the only equalizing measure across society is the vote. People who might not be heard in voice can be heard through their vote. Protecting the right to vote, and exercising the right to vote become acts of justice, the sacred work of ensuring the dignity of all.”- Rev. Gregory Edwards, Chief of Staff, POWER Interfaith
“We stand shoulder to shoulder with the ACLU in their work to address this injustice disenfranchising members of our cherished communities, disproportionately Black and Brown voters, and especially our elders. Too many have fought and died for the right to vote for us not to treat any instance of voter suppression with the gravest seriousness. These profound sacrifices were made to enshrine the right to the sacred act of voting, and we shall not look away from any encroachment on that right.” -Bishop Dwayne Royster Executive Director, POWER Interfaith