Philadelphia City Commissioners Fight to Keep Act 77 and Mail-in Voting Legal

  • Share on Facebook

Philadelphia City Commissioners Fight to Keep Act 77 and Mail-in Voting Legal

Philadelphia, PA – Today, the Philadelphia City Commissioners unanimously requested that the Philadelphia Law Department prepare an amicus brief on behalf of the board of elections in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court case of McLinko v Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Commonwealth Court’s decision in McLinko, which was immediately appealed to the higher court, deemed the mail-in voting portions of Act 77 unconstitutional. The Philadelphia City Commissioners’ Office supports the state’s appeal and believes that the Supreme Court should uphold the mail-in voting as set forth in Act 77. Mail-in voting has gained widespread acceptance with Philadelphia voters and has become a vital part of elections in Philadelphia:

  • On average, more than one-third of Philadelphia voters have cast their vote using mail-in ballots during the past four elections.
  • During the 2020 cycle, roughly 40% of Philadelphia voters used mail-in ballots.
  • More than 140,000 Philadelphia voters have voted using mail-in ballots in more than one election.
  • More than 50,000 Philadelphia voters have voted by mail-in ballot exclusively since Act 77 went into effect.
  • Nearly 60,000 Philadelphia voters cast their first vote using mail-in ballots.
  • Despite the pandemic, turnout has increased in the past three elections, the 2020 General, 2021 Primary, and 2021 General, compared with the equivalent election four years prior.
  • Without mail-in ballots cast in the past three elections, the total turnout would have been lower.

“I and this board will continue to fight, using all legal means, either in the courts of law or in the courts of public opinion to ensure that all Philadelphians can vote in the easiest, most convenient ways possible,” said City Commissioners’ Chairwoman Lisa Deeley. “In this case, the decision from the Commonwealth Court was wrong. Philadelphians have embraced mail-in voting in large numbers, and we will make sure that we are part of the process of getting this corrected.”

Act 77 passed the state legislature with bipartisan support and was signed into law by Governor Wolf in 2019. Among the many updates to the state’s election code, Act 77 provided the introduction of no excuse mail-in voting, something enjoyed by millions of voters all over the country. Following the Commonwealth Court's recent ruling, the Pennsylvania Secretary of State filed an immediate appeal with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court which automatically stayed the Commonwealth Court’s order. Therefore, the commissioners’ office is proceeding as normal: mailing out permanent absentee and mail-in applications, processing mail-in applications, and mailing mail-in ballots when they are finalized.

“The Commonwealth Court ruling on Act 77, deliberately perpetuates the disenfranchisement of voters,” said Vice Chair Omar Sabir. “The court ruling is nothing but a recycle of Jim Crow rhetoric. Now more than ever it is our duty to stand up against misinformation. You can still vote in the comfort of your own home or take a short walk to your local polling place.”

Voters on the annual mail voter list will begin to receive their yearly application from the City Commissioners in the next week. “Voters who would like to receive ballots for all elections in 2022 should return those applications as soon as possible,” said newly sworn-in Commissioner Seth Bluestein. The deadline to apply for the upcoming Primary is May 10, 2022.


The Philadelphia City Commissioners are a three-member bipartisan board of elected officials in charge of elections and voter registration for the City of Philadelphia. The three Commissioners are Chairwoman Lisa Deeley (D), Vice Chair Omar Sabir (D), and Secretary Seth Bluestein (R).