HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — This week, state Senate leaders introduced a bill aimed at making sure Pennsylvania elections remain fair, accessible and secure.

It acts on most of the recommendations the PA Department of State made in one of its reports this year, as well as concerns raised by local and county officials.

“As a result of COVID-19 and the challenges that the pandemic has caused across our state, it is clear that voting reforms are needed prior to the November election,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati.

Among the reforms being proposed is having counties verify mail-in and absentee ballot signatures with voters if they don’t match what’s on file.

Also, it includes pre-canvassing, which would allow counties to start opening mail-in and absentee ballots and scanning them three days before the election, without counting results.

The bill calls for expanding the areas where poll watchers and poll workers can work.

Plus, it would provide voters with mail-in and absentee ballots earlier, and move the deadline for these ballots to 15 days before the election, which is the same deadline as voter registration. That would be to make sure the postal service could make sure the ballots get to where they need to go.

“It doesn’t matter what the process is for casting a ballot if the results are in question,” said Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman. “The responsibility to ensure that trust in the election process lies solely within the legislative process.”

The legislation would also let counties create secure locations for returning mail-in ballots…to make it easier for officials to retrieve them.

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