- This week, legislation co-sponsored by Rep. Frank Ryan (R-Lebanon) was introduced, which would change Pennsylvania’s election process to restore integrity, faith and trust in elections. The legislation follows a series of 10 public hearings this spring by the House State Government Committee of which Ryan is a member.
“House Bill 1300
, known as the Voting Rights Protection Act, is a compilation of proposed changes, based on input from state and local election officials, election experts and other stakeholders who testified at our hearings,” said Ryan. “The bill would amend the Commonwealth’s Election Code to improve voter access by allowing for early in-person voting beginning in 2025 and providing better access for voters with disabilities. It would also address issues pertaining to mail-in ballots, such as unsigned or undated ballots, which must be completed by 8 p.m. on Election Day, and give counties the option to use secure mail-in ballot drop boxes during specific times and at secure locations.”
Throughout the 10 public hearings, testifiers expressed the need to improve operations at the county level so local election offices are not overburdened. To address this, the bill would allow mail-in ballots to be counted starting five days before the election. Current law requires them to be counted on Election Day, causing delays in the final count. Also, the voter registration deadline would be moved to 30 days prior to an election instead of the current 15 days.
The Voting Rights Protection Act would also tighten security by:
Strengthening Pennsylvania’s current voter identification law.
Requiring regular election audits.
Improving election uniformity among the 67 counties as required by the PA Constitution.
Enhancing certification processes for all machines used in elections.
Requiring signature verification using ballot scanning equipment for mail-in and absentee ballots.
Improving lists of registered voters.
Specifically, counties would provide registered voters a scannable, durable voter registration card, much like the identification cards currently issued to voters for use when voting in-person.
To cost-effectively ensure voters can trust official election office websites and limit the dissemination of misinformation, all county election board websites would be required to use a .gov domain address.
“Our goal is to ensure public trust in our election system by making our system more secure, accessible and efficient,” Ryan said.
The Voting Rights Protection Act now goes to the House State Government Committee for consideration.
Representative Frank Ryan
101st Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Donna Pinkham
RepFrankRyan.com / Facebook.com/RepFrankRyan