(The Center Square) – A second election reform bill appears likely in Pennsylvania this year.
The chairs of the State Government Committee began circulating a cosponsorship memo earlier this month for their joint plan, which allows for a three day pre-canvassing rule, continuous video surveillance of ballot drop boxes, tightened application deadlines and an elimination of the permanent mail-in list, among other changes.
“We have a bipartisan government,” Democratic Chairman Sharif Street, D-Philadelphia, said on Twitter regarding the bill. “It’s how Pennsylvanian’s vote … they still expect us to get work done.”
In the memo, Street and Chairman Dave Argall, R-Pottsville, said their reforms incorporate feedback from the chamber’s Special Committee on Election Integrity and Reform, as well as election officials and the general public.
Among its other provisions, the bill proposes applying bar codes to mail-in ballots so residents can track their votes; livestreaming the counting of all mail-in ballots; updating voter rolls on a monthly basis to purge deceased residents; and bolstering election worker training.
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The senators said in the memo their bill purposefully avoids “more controversial recommendations like voter identification requirements” and focuses instead on those with “broader bi-partisan support.”
In June, Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed a House-led election reform bill over what he considered voter ID rules that were too restrictive. He’s since softened his stance, suggesting that he might be open to reasonable identification requirements.
The Legislature also began advancing a proposed constitutional amendment that would leave it up to residents to decide how stringent the state’s law should be on the matter.
Christen Smith follows Pennsylvania’s General Assembly for The Center Square. She is an award-winning reporter with more than a decade of experience covering state and national policy issues for niche publications and local newsrooms alike.
This article was republished with permission from The Center Square.
4 thoughts on “Bipartisan election reform bill brewing in Pennsylvania Senate”
At least this seems more reasonable than the radical bills passed in TX, FL, and AZ which, among other things, lets state government bureaucrats override local election boards and paves the way for career political hacks to overturn elections that don’t go their way.
The state governments actually have that authority. It is delegated to localities. The laws you cite actually codify the conditions that need to exist for the states to take control of them. Before that the reasons were vague and could only lead to litigation.
The two most cited provisions in the Texas bill will ban 24-hour voting and drive-thru voting, practices that were never used there until last year in Texas when one of the over 254 counties there tried it due to COVID. There is an exception to the drive-thru voting where the voter suffers from a physical disability. The bill provides that early voting will run there from 6:00AM until 10:00PM weekdays and from 9:00AM to 10PM on Sundays. In counties with over 50,000 people there will be 6 Sundays of early voting. The current rule only applies to counties with over 100,000 people.
In some jurisdictions, it is customary for deceased residents to continue to vote for four years or more after their demise.