Harrisburg, PA – The PA House of Representatives passed an election reform bill, which Republicans say would restore confidence in Pennsylvania’s elections.
House Bill 1300 would require scannable voter ID, signature verification for mail-in and absentee ballots, and electronic pollbooks. It would also make changes to how drop boxes are regulation.
The bill passed in the House 110-91, with most Democrats strongly opposing the bill, saying that these kinds of provisions would specifically make it more difficult for some demographics to vote, especially people of color and those with financial hardships.
The bill now goes to the State Senate for approval.
Even if it passes in both chambers, Gov. Tom Wolf has indicated he would veto it if it reaches his desk.
Rep. Mike Armanini, a Republican serving the Clearfield and Elk County area, talks about how he voted for HB 1300 for voting protection provisions.
The following press release is from the House of Representatives GOP Caucus:
HARRISBURG -The House passed comprehensive election reform legislation, co-sponsored by Rep. Craig Staats (R-Bucks), which aims to improve election security and accessibility, and restore public confidence in Pennsylvania’s elections.
“I have received many visits, emails and phone calls from constituents expressing concern about the integrity of our elections and demanding action to address it,” said Staats. “As a member of the House State Government Committee, I participated in a series of public hearings over the past several months at which state and county election officials from Pennsylvania and elsewhere, and other stakeholders, provided testimony about the security and effectiveness of our election processes and suggested ways to make our system better. In our hearings, the message we received from our county election officials was very clear. They said, the system does not work, and they need help. The Voting Rights Protection Act would provide that help.
House Bill 1300 would tighten election security by requiring scannable voter identification, signature verification for mail-in and absentee ballots, and electronic pollbooks. It would streamline county election processes statewide to improve uniformity and help maintain accurate lists of registered voters.
It would also enhance certification processes for all machines used in elections, require election audits to verify 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. Other measures to ease pressure on county election offices would restore the 30-day voter registration deadline and allow for early, in-person voting starting in 2025.
“The Voting Rights Protection Act would address many of the concerns of my constituents and would go a long way toward restoring voter confidence in our elections,” said Staats.
House Bill 1300 now goes to the Senate. Gov. Tom Wolf has indicated he would veto it.
Watch the bill’s co-sponsor, Rep. Craig Staats (R-Bucks), with his comments on the bill.