Edit

State Supreme Judicial Court rules that Republican-led effort to categorize universal mail-in voting as unconstitutional has merit

Government and Politics

June 30, 2022


CONTACT: Evan Lips, communications director
617-523-5005 ext. 245

Oral arguments scheduled for July 6

WOBURN — A state Supreme Judicial Court associate justice ruled Wednesday that a Republican-led injunction seeking to stop pandemic-era no-fault universal mail-in voting from becoming a permanent fixture in Massachusetts elections has enough merit to move forward.

“Due to the significant time constraints in this matter, and because the complaint raises wide-ranging and novel constitutional challenges to the new election law implicating the fundamental right to vote, I hereby exercise my discretion to reserve and report the matter to the full court for decision,” wrote SJC Justice Scott L. Kafker.

Massachusetts Republican Party Chairman Jim Lyons thanked Kafker on Thursday for expediting the matter and said he and additional Republican plaintiffs are “more than ready” to make their case to the court.

“At the heart of our challenge is the fact that the Massachusetts Constitution specifically lists just three instances in which absentee voting is permissible: if a voter is serving overseas or is away from town, if a voter has a disability, or if a voter happens to have a religious commitment that conflicts with Election Day,” Lyons said. “We believe that the state Legislature violated the Constitution when it made emergency pandemic-era mail-in voting laws permanent.

“We also have significant reasons to believe that mail-in voting is especially vulnerable to fraud. One only need to look at the thousands of mail-in ballot applications sent to wrong addresses in 2020, or the thousands marked as undeliverable and returned.”

Lyons added that efforts to dilute the importance of Election Day have only served to weaken the public’s trust of the electoral process.

“When we take something special like Election Day and expand it into Election Month, when the chain of custody between a ballot cast and a ballot counted is disrupted, and when election counts take days and sometimes weeks to finalize, we are harming people’s time-tested faith in our elections, and that trust is something we can never get back once it’s gone.”

Justice Kafker scheduled oral arguments to begin on July 6 at 10 a.m., and ordered both sides to have briefs filed by July 5.