HARRISBURG – To increase voter accessibility and improve security in Pennsylvania’s election process, the House State Government Committee Tuesday advanced House Bill 1300, the Voting Rights Protection Act, its sponsor and committee chairman Rep. Seth Grove (R-York) said.
“After months of gathering information on our elections, and then crafting the comprehensive Voting Rights Protection Act, Tuesday’s committee vote marks the first step of moving this bill to the governor’s desk,” Grove said.
“In the meantime, I look forward to working with Gov. Tom Wolf to create a final version of the bill to address the serious concerns within our election law so the election process is open to all voters who can cast ballots securely and with confidence.”
House Bill 1300 would allow for early in-person voting beginning in 2025; correcting non-fatal defects on mail-in ballots, which must be completed by 8 p.m. of Election Day; and giving counties the option to use secure mail-in ballot drop boxes during specific times and at secure locations. The bill also increases access for voters with disabilities.
To address issues raised by local election officials during the months-long series of hearings conducted by the House State Government Committee, the bill would allow mail-in ballots to be counted starting five days before the election.
The Voting Rights Protection Act would also move the last day to register to vote back to 30 days prior to an election, as requested by county election officials.
The Voting Rights Protection Act would call for an expansion of Pennsylvania’s voter identification law; require regular election audits; improve election uniformity among the 67 counties as required by the Pennsylvania Constitution; enhance certification processes for all machines used in elections; require signature verification using ballot scanning equipment for mail-in and absentee ballots; improve lists of registered voters; conduct an audit of every election for, among other things, to improve security of our elections.
Specifically, registered voters would receive through their counties’ durable scannable voter registration cards, much like the identification cards currently issued to voters, to be used when voting in person.
“Improving accessibility is at the forefront of this bill. Over the past few election cycles, we have seen increased voter involvement and our laws must keep up with demands. No legal voter should be denied the opportunity to cast a ballot,” Grove said.
“The Voting Rights Protection Act ensures voters have the ability to make their voices heard. I look forward to this bill being take up by the House.”
The Voting Rights Protection Act now goes to the full House for consideration.