(HARRISBURG) – To address the procedural issues voters experienced in the two most recent elections since no-excuse mail-in ballots were introduced in Pennsylvania, Senator Ryan Aument (R-36) circulated a cosponsor memo for his legislation that would suspend the use of no-excuse mail-in ballots until spring 2023 or until elected leaders make necessary adjustments to Act 77 of 2019.
“Long before the 2020 general election and the COVID-19 pandemic, lawmakers have continually heard concerns from voters and election officials alike,” Aument said. “The Legislature must address these concerns, fix the legitimate issues with mail-in ballots, and restore the public’s confidence in the integrity of our election system.”
In this year’s primary election, more than 2,700 Lancaster County voters received incorrect instructions on how to return their mail-in ballot, while voters in Mount Joy received the wrong ballots and return envelopes. On election day, it was discovered that approximately 14,000 mail-in ballots had been printed with their pages out of order, making them unable to be read and tallied by the voting machines. That error necessitated a hand count.
Other counties – including Delaware, Luzerne, York, and Fayette – also experienced snags with their ballots in the May 2021 primary election, which added to the confusion and distrust surrounding mail-in voting.
“Leaders on both sides of the aisle have acknowledged issues that necessitate a change in the law. We must fix these inadequacies, because regardless of your party affiliation or political beliefs, the bottom line is that all Americans absolutely must have faith in our elections and any action that we as elected officials can take to restore that confidence is appropriate,” Aument added.
Pennsylvania was one of the last states in the nation to approve no-excuse mail-in ballots. Colorado, Utah, and Florida, three states considered to be the best in secure and efficient election systems, all use no-excuse mail-in ballots. However, all three also require voter identification, accurate voter registration records, signature verification for mail-in ballots and drop box surveillance. Many believe that strengthening Pennsylvania’s election laws with these commonsense security measures would increase voter confidence across the Commonwealth.
“Every legal voter should have the opportunity to cast their ballot without the fear that their vote will be disregarded, mishandled, lost, or manipulated. The goal of the bill is not to make it harder for Pennsylvanians to vote, and it’s not to permanently eliminate the voting option preferred by many; rather, the purpose of this bill is to ensure proper protections are in place so voters will have faith in the use of these mail-in ballots,” Aument said.
CONTACT: Stephanie Applegate, 717-787-4420