On Thursday, Pennsylvania Republicans introduced an election reform bill aimed to overhaul the state’s election system
The bill includes stricter voter identification requirements and mail ballot signature verification.
The election reform bill was introduced by Representative Seth Grove and is known as House Bill 1300, the Voting Rights Protection Act.
Pennsylvania Voting Rights Protection Act
This bill expands & improves voting access while restoring trust in the results. Anyone who claims otherwise has not paid attention to the work done by the committee, actually read the bill, or is a liar. pic.twitter.com/j4tB9fEYkP
— Rep. Seth Grove (@RepGrove) June 11, 2021
Pennsylvania Voting Rights Protection Act
✅ Voter’s Bill of Rights
✅ Senior Citizens Voter’s Bills of Rights
✅ Disabled Voter’s Bill of Rights
✅ Curbside Voting
✅ ADA Accessible Voting Machine Standards
✅ Supervised voting for long-term care residents pic.twitter.com/u3sgSlKGB1
— Rep. Seth Grove (@RepGrove) June 11, 2021
Bill would require ID each time a person votes and establish Bureau of Election Auditshttps://t.co/L3gG7SXyhI
— Rep. Seth Grove (@RepGrove) June 12, 2021
The goal of the bill is to improve Pennsylvania’s election process and restore trust in elections.
Who wouldn’t want fair and transparent elections?
Apparently Democrat Governor Tom Wolf!
The same lies that led to the assault on the U.S. Capitol are fueling efforts to silence voters across the nation.
I will not let this happen in Pennsylvania.
Your vote is your constitutional right, and I will do everything to protect the freedom to vote in Pennsylvania. pic.twitter.com/OjGSb0tBwa
— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) June 10, 2021
Fox News says the bill is unlikely to pass with Democrat Governor Tom Wolf opposed:
Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania are pushing their own version of sweeping election security bills that led to massive controversy in other states, but the legislation is unlikely to become law with Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf staunchly opposed.
The bill, unveiled Friday, is the result of months of hearings held by Republican legislators in the wake of a contentious 2020 election in which many Republicans criticized measures states took to hold elections during the pandemic as prone to fraud. There’s been no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, but many GOP-controlled legislatures around the country have taken what they say are proactive steps to ensure elections are run more efficiently in the future.
“This responsible bill includes all aspects of issues brought before the committee and will propel Pennsylvania’s election into the 21st century, all while fixing fatal flaws and election security issues,” state Rep. Seth Grove, a Republican who is the chief sponsor of the bill, said.
“This legislation is nothing short of an accurate reflection of the product of those hearings; concerns raised by local elections officials, statewide election administrators and citizens from across Pennsylvania; as well as legislative concepts supported in a bipartisan fashion by the House of Representatives in the past,” Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, the Pennsylvania House majority leader, added.
The law allows for voters to return mail ballots via mail, in-person to county boards of elections, or to drop boxes that are required to be monitored by election officials. It will also ban permanent mail-in voting lists, requiring voters to request a mail ballot for each election they wish to vote that way.
The bill would also establish a “Bureau of Election Audits” to “conduct result-confirming audits of each election in the Commonwealth, completed by the third Friday following the election.”
Likely to be one of the most contentious changes, however, is a requirement that people present voter ID each time they vote rather than just the first time they vote at a particular polling place. This will add a requirement for voters in each election, but the law expands what counts as a valid form of identification. Voters who do not have an ID on them can also sign an affidavit.
Republicans hold majorities in both the House and Senate in Pennsylvania. But any law passed by the two chambers is very unlikely to get past Wolf, who earlier this week made clear would oppose any GOP-backed election law.
“Today, I reaffirm my commitment to the people of this commonwealth that I will always uphold our democracy. I will stand up for your freedom to vote, and I will not allow bad actors to put up barriers to voting,” Wolf said Wednesday. “Not only will I stand against any efforts to roll back our freedoms, I will continue to push for changes to take down the barriers that still exist.”
Wolf’s administration did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News asking for his reaction to the reforms. Neither did the Pennsylvania House Democrats’ campaign arm. But the House Democrats’ official Twitter account framed the GOP-backed bill ominously.
“The Republican attack on your right to vote is here,” Pennsylvania House Democrats said in reaction to the Friday announcement of the bill. Pennsylvania House Minority Leader Jonna McClinton slammed the GOP proposal in an interview with KDKA.
“We do not need a Bureau of Election Audits. One of the things I’m waiting for my colleagues across the aisle to do is end the big lie, which reeked so much terror and havoc and a deadly attack on our United States Capitol,” McClinton told KDKA.
The GOP bill, which is nearly 150 pages long, also has a long list of other provisions, including a voter’s bill of rights.
Among those rights are to have votes accurately counted; the right to voting assistance; the right to replacement ballots if the voter makes a mistake; the right to case a vote if the voter is in line by the time polls close; and more.
Regardless of what Tom Wolf wants, the people in Pennslyvania have spoken.
But will Republicans have enough votes to override Wolf’s likely veto?
The Epoch Times has more details about the new election integrity bill:
State Rep. Seth Grove—the chair of the House State Government Committee who acts as House Republicans’ point person for election legislation—introduced the Voting Rights Protection Act, House Bill 1300, after months of hearings by the House State Government Committee.
The legislation aims at transforming and improving Pennsylvania’s election process to restore the integrity of and trust in elections, according to a statement from Grove’s office.
The bill seems to embrace ideas from both the Republican and Democrat side and proposes comprehensive measures to change the rules for election including:
- Allowing early in-person voting beginning in 2025.
- Allowing unsigned or undated ballots to be corrected before 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.
- Giving counties the option to use secure mail-in ballot drop boxes during specific times at secure locations.
- Allowing mail-in ballots to be counted five days before an election. Current law allows the count to begin no earlier than 7:00 a.m. on Election Day.
- Requiring every voter to present a photo ID at the polls.
- Requiring signature verification for mail ballots.
- Eliminating the permanent mail-in voting list.
- Establishing a Bureau of Election Audits under the state Auditor General’s office. The newly-established bureau will have subpoena power and will regularly conduct election audits.
Most of the proposed rules in House Bill 1300 are based on a report published by the State House Government Committee back on May 10.
The report (pdf)—titled “A Comprehensive Review of Pennsylvania’s Election Laws: How Pennsylvania Can Guarantee Rights and Integrity in Our Election System”—identifies 25 aspects of the election process that needs improvements.
The bill is intended to fix the issues listed in the report. “This responsible bill includes all aspects of issues brought before the committee and will propel Pennsylvania’s election into the 21st century, all while fixing fatal flaws and election security issues,” Grove said.
Pennsylvania House Speaker Bryan Cutler, a Republican, is supportive of the bill.
“House Republicans have consistently paved the way to more accessible, secure[,] and accurate elections,” he said. “Our caucus ensured the state tracked the impacts of our evolving election law in 2019 and 2020, and today we see those efforts brought to fruition in this important and thorough legislation by Chairman Grove. Pennsylvanians must have faith in their elections and this bill is another piece of restoring the public’s trust.”
The proposed bill will likely be blocked by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, though Republicans control both the House and Senate in the state legislature.
Wolf suggested earlier the week that he will veto any election bill from the Republican side.
“I will stand up for our freedom to vote. I will not allow bad actors to put up barriers to voting in Pennsylvania,” he said. “Not only will I veto any legislative efforts to roll back the freedoms Pennsylvanians right now have, I will continue to push for changes that expand our access to the polls.”
The Republicans may not have enough votes to override Wolf’s likely veto.
House Minority Leader Rep. Joanna E. McClinton told KDKA-TV that some parts of the bill may get bipartisan support but she denounced the idea of Bureau of Election Audits.
“We do not need a Bureau of Election Audits. One of the things I’m waiting for my colleagues across the aisle to do is end the big lie, which reeked so much terror and havoc and a deadly attack on our United States Capitol,” she said.
She also criticized that the Republicans cut off Democrats during the legislative process, saying the bill will reach an impasse at the executive branch.
“The thing that makes Democrats in the House relevant is that we have a Democratic governor. So in order for a bill to get signed, it’s best that we all collaborate,” McClinton said.
This bill is absolutely necessary because without addressing the voter fraud from 2020 and the need for transparent elections, Republicans will have a hard-pressed time winning future elections.
Cheaters will find a way to cheat, and Tom Wolf’s blatant disdain for this necessary bill shows the deep states’ true colors.
@GovernorTomWolf you violated the Constitution of the USA during the 2020 Presidential election by usurping the PA Legislature’s power to control elections in PA
Pennsylvania election reform bill mandates voter ID but faces stern oppositionhttps://t.co/Go2oP5MOE7
— Gene Wagnon (@GeneWagnon) June 12, 2021
We need action… We need to ensure that there are no more “hiccups” when voting…
we need voter reform in this state it is unfathomable that Pennsylvania runs out of the ballots… Only Republican ballots!https://t.co/KjSt2nPxQ2
— Sunshine PA Sue. (@PennslytckySue) May 20, 2021
"Pennsylvania election reform bill mandates voter ID but faces stern opposition. Bill would require ID each time a person votes and establish Bureau of Election Audit"
Excellent. Lets set the highest standards of integrity for an excercise that should had this a long time ago.
— Stacy Da Costa (@spegums) June 12, 2021
When enough of we the people demand fair and honest elections, there’s no stopping us.