PA Supreme Court upholds lower court ruling to not allow certification of Marsy’s Law votes

HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling to not allow votes on the Marsy’s Law amendment to be certified.

The decision came Monday, five days after the state’s Commonwealth Court granted the injunction.

The ballot question, which asks whether the state Constitution should be amended to include crime victims’ rights, will still be seen by voters who go to the polls Tuesday.

Votes will not be certified until a lawsuit about the question is resolved.

The lawsuit, filed by the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania and Lorraine Haw, argues that the ballot question violates a section of the state Constitution because it lumps 15 specific rights for crime victims into one question rather than have separate amendments.

It also claims the ballot question is unconstitutional because it’s vague and voters have no clarity on what they’re voting for. The lawsuit adds that the proposed constitutional amendment is more than 500 words while the ballot question is 73 words.

Marsy’s Law for Pennsylvania released the following statement regarding the Supreme Court’s decision on the injunction:

“We believe that this Preliminary Injunction is unprecedented and extreme, and we are disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold it. The Commonwealth Court’s injunction will harm past, present and future crime victims who will be denied constitutional rights until the votes are certified.

“We remain confident that the Supreme Court will ultimately rule in favor of certifying the election results. We believe that we have the stronger legal case, backed by bipartisan support of elected representatives in the legislature. It is now more important than ever that Pennsylvanians get to the polls and vote for Marsy’s Law.”

Reggie Shuford, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, also weighed in: 

“This is a win for voters in Pennsylvania. The General Assembly gave voters an overwhelming ballot question and forced them to vote up or down on the entire package. There may be provisions of Marsy’s Law that a voter likes and provisions they don’t like, but they have no opportunity to vote individually on each piece. The legislature forced them into an unfair, take-it-or-leave-it choice.

“Tallying the vote has been postponed, not blocked. Our lawsuit will go on, so voters should go out tomorrow and vote ‘no’ on Marsy’s Law because we believe the law is flawed both procedurally and on the merits.”

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