2020 was a momentous year for Pennsylvania election litigation. In 2019, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania overhauled its voting laws and adopted new voting technology, which sparked a number of lawsuits seeking to decertify certain voting machines and to ease procedures for voting by mail. Later in 2020, President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign and others sued to restrict access to voting by mail by, among other things, banning ballot drop boxes and limiting access to election offices. Then, after the November 3, 2020, election, election litigation exploded, with multiple federal and state court attempts to challenge counties’ ballot counting procedures and block appointment of Pennsylvania’s presidential electors.

Hangley Aronchick took a leading role in nearly all these cases. Representing the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and its officials in some proceedings and a group of Pennsylvania’s most populous counties in others, we litigated and won more than two dozen matters in Pennsylvania’s trial courts, Commonwealth Court, and Supreme Court; the Commonwealth’s three federal District Courts; the Third Circuit Court of Appeals; and the U.S. Supreme Court. Many of these cases received intense public attention, including:

  • The Trump campaign’s post-election effort to persuade a federal court to overturn the election results, in which Mark Aronchick went head to head with campaign lawyer Rudy Giuliani at oral argument before the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania;
  • Michele Hangley’s defense of Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties’ ballot canvassing procedures before the Philadelphia trial court and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania;
  • Battles over the amount of distance permitted between election workers and the Trump campaign’s observers, in which Rob Wiygul successfully represented Philadelphia County before the Philadelphia trial court and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; and
  • S. Congressman Mike Kelly’s claim that the state courts should throw out more than two million ballots because Pennsylvania’s mail-in voting laws violated the Pennsylvania Constitution. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected Congressman Kelly’s claim and, on December 8, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court followed suit, clearing away the last potential obstacle to Pennsylvania’s Electoral College vote.

Our core team for 2020 election matters included shareholders Michele Hangley (who leads our representation of the Commonwealth and officers of the Department of State), Mark Aronchick (who leads our representation of Pennsylvania’s largest counties), and Rob Wiygul; associates Christina Matthias, John Coit, and John Hill; and paralegal Kim Ferrari, with substantial assistance from shareholder Jon Cochran, associate Pete Keays, paralegal Maria Hunter, and the firm’s administrative staff.