Pennsylvania Legislation Alert: HB1300

This article is shared with DART from our neighbors at P.T. Citizens Making Sense: The Peters TownShip Citizens for Democracy Newsletter. Reprinted with permission of the publisher.

HB1300, The [so-called] Voting Rights Protection Act, is Republicans’ latest effort [in 2021] to tighten voting laws. It includes, but is not restricted to, the following points:

• Require every voter to present ID at the polls.
• Allow counties to begin processing and counting mail ballots – what’s known as “pre-canvassing” – five days before Election Day.
• Create six days of in-person early voting, beginning after the 2024 presidential election
• Allow mail ballot drop boxes for seven days before Election Day.
• Eliminate the permanent mail voting list
• Move the voter registration deadline to 30 days before Election Day, from fifteen.
• Move the deadline for requesting mail ballots to 15 days before Election Day, from seven.
• Allow voters to fix – or “cure” – mail ballots with missing signatures.
• Establish a Bureau of Election Audits under the state auditor general’s office
• Allow counties to open satellite elections offices
• Require signature verification for mail ballots
• Require counties to purchase electronic poll books
• Ban counties from accepting private donations for election administration.
• Increase poll worker compensation from $75-$200 to $175-$300, with the Pennsylvania Department of State covering half the cost of the increases.

The bill was formulated with no input from Democrats. Republicans claim that it will restore voters’ faith in our elections – a remarkable assertion, given that any diminished trust that is out there was fueled by Trump’s [claim that the 2020 election was “stolen”] which they supported.

The only provision that would expand the ability to vote would be the six days of in-person voting. However, each county would only be allowed ten in-person voting sites. Drop boxes sound advantageous but are limited to one per county, with an additional box for every 100,000 residents. There is considerable disagreement among Republicans about changes, with more conservative House Representatives wanting to eliminate mail-in voting. Fortunately, Governor Wolf has stated that he will veto any bill that reeks of voter suppression.

Governor Wolf vetoed HB1300 on June 30. The Republicans are still working to bring back this bill. Contact your PA Representative today and tell them to vote NO on any new version of HB1300. You can also contact Washington County Senator Camera Bartolotta to express your disappointment that she voted YES. (724) 225-4380

You can read more about this bill on the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s website here.