HARRISBURG – The Senate approved legislation this week that will bring the most comprehensive changes to Pennsylvania’s election laws in more than eight decades, according to State Senator Doug Mastriano (R-33).
Senate Bill 421 will also provide $90 million in much-needed funding to replace county voting machines, boost election security and ensure that local taxpayers did not have to pick up the tab for the required upgrades.
“The comprehensive election reform package passed by the Senate will make it easier for all residents to participate in the election process,” explained Mastriano. “Commonwealth citizens deserve an election system that is fair, accessible and efficient. The changes made by the legislature will promote a stronger electoral system in which every voter can be certain that their vote counts, without creating any unnecessary delays or barriers to exercise their right to vote.”
Additionally, the legislation eliminates the antiquated practice of straight-party voting, something that 40 states have already done. This encourages voters to consider individual candidates based on merit (not solely on their political affiliation), empower third-party and independent candidates, and diminish the impact of political polarization in our elections.
Among its provisions, the bill would also:
- Extend the deadline for voters to submit an absentee ballot, from the Friday before Election Day until 8 p.m. on Election Day,
- Push back the voter registration deadline from 30 days before an election to 15 days,
- Allow voters to request and submit an absentee ballot by mail without providing a reason, and
- Create a permanent mail-in voter list.
Senate Bill 421 will now be sent to the Governor for his signature.
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