- Today, the House passed comprehensive election reform legislation aimed at improving the security and accessibility of Pennsylvania elections, and would help restore voter confidence, according to Rep. Frank Ryan (R-Lebanon).
“I co-sponsored House Bill 1300
because many of my constituents are disillusioned with recent elections and have expressed concern about the integrity of our election system,” said Ryan. “As a member of the House State Government Committee, I attended the 10 public hearings that led to this legislation. We questioned state and county election officials from Pennsylvania and elsewhere, as well as other stakeholders, who provided testimony about the security and effectiveness of the processes used in our elections, and suggested improvements. This bill is in direct response to that testimony.”
The Voting Rights Protection Act would tighten election security by requiring scannable photo voter identification and signature verification for mail-in and absentee ballots. It would streamline county election processes statewide to improve uniformity and help maintain accurate lists of registered voters. It would provide handicap access to the polls and cut wait times to vote.
It would also enhance certification processes for all machines used in elections, require risk-limiting audits to ensure accurate results, allow counties to use and regulate a limited number of secure drop boxes and permit counties to begin pre-canvassing up to five days before the election. Pre-canvassing is a secure process by which county election officials open and prepare ballots to be scanned and counted on Election Day. This process would reduce the burden on county officials and help ensure timely election results. Another measure to ease pressure on county election offices would restore the 30-day voter registration deadline.
House Bill 1300 would allow county officials to notify voters whose mail-in ballots were received with non-fatal errors – lacking a signature or date ? they can correct them prior to 8 p.m. on Election Day. Election officials would also be permitted to notify voters whose ballots are received without the required secrecy envelope or other “incurable” errors to vote in-person on Election Day or apply for an emergency absentee ballot.
Finally, House Bill 1300 would allow for early, in-person voting starting in 2025. Recent polling shows most Americans overwhelmingly support early voting and photo ID requirements. The bill now goes to the Senate where it is expected to pass. Gov. Tom Wolf has already indicated he will veto it.
Representative Frank Ryan
101st Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives