Two Pennsylvania state senators told colleagues this week they are drafting a measure to count in-person ballots rather than absentee ballots in instances when someone uses both methods to vote.
Before Act 77, a 2019 law letting Pennsylvanians vote by mail without an excuse like illness or travel, those who submitted absentee ballots but became able to vote in person could do so while having their absentee ballots voided. The new law however directs election boards to let an absentee voter cast their vote in person using a provisional ballot; in cases when the mail-in ballot was received by 8 p.m. on Election Day, the earlier mail-in ballot, not the in-person one, is recorded.
This week’s decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upholding Act 77 which legalized no-excuse absentee voting in the Keystone State is spurring Republican lawmakers to renew their push for election reform.
A Republican-led legislature passed and Democratic Governor Tom Wolf signed Act 77 three years ago. Moderate Democratic Senator Lisa Boscola (D-Bethlehem) initially drafted the bill to get rid of straight-party voting, a policy on which Republican legislators largely agreed with her. More Democrats came around to support the measure once a section was added allowing voters to cast mail-in ballots without providing a reason they could not come to the polls (i.e., illness, injury or travel).
Pennsylvania’s Department of State this week filed a lawsuit against three counties, all controlled by Republicans, to count undated absentee ballots.
Acting Secretary of State Leigh Chapman (D) wants Berks, Fayette and Lancaster counties to follow the rest of the state in counting votes delivered in undated envelopes toward the official tallies for candidates nominated in May 17’s primaries. A Pennsylvania law requiring absentee and mail-in voters to date their ballot envelope has underwent significant court scrutiny over the last two years.
NORRISTOWN, PA—Montgomery County, Pennsylvania’s Republican Party yesterday asked the county’s Democrat-controlled Board of Elections to consider several election-security measures, mainly regarding absentee voting.
At a County Commissioners’ meeting, Montgomery County Republican Committee (MCRC) Chair Liz Preate Havey said the reforms her organization proposes will curb alleged breaches of law and foulups in administration that have already taken place in the county during recent elections.
Although Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court on Friday invalidated the law that has allowed no-excuse mail-in voting since 2020, the state’s appeal of the ruling means the decision is not yet in effect.
State officials, represented by Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro, will likely face a much friendlier forum in the state Supreme Court, which is controlled by Democrats in contrast to the Republican-majority Commonwealth Court. Democrats denounced the latter court’s ruling and pointed out that Republican legislators overwhelmingly voted for Act 77, which allowed Pennsylvanian’s who were not sick, injured or out of town to vote via absentee ballot.