HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — On Monday, State Rep. Scott Conklin (D-Centre County) announced the reintroduction of his ballot pre-canvassing legislation, House Bill 847, which would allow ballots to be pre-canvassed up to seven days before elections.
Pre-canvassing refers to the process of inspecting, opening, and counting all envelopes with official absentee or mail-in ballots. However, it does not include the recording or publishing of the tallied votes.
Current Pennsylvania law dictates that absentee and mail-in ballots cannot be pre-canvassed until 7 a.m. on Election Day.
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“With more and more people voting by mail-in ballot, tabulating ballots and releasing election results is taking county boards of elections much longer,” Conklin said. “In House State Government Committee hearings we heard from numerous experts, including county election officials from both parties, who testified that our state should allow counties to pre-canvass mail and absentee ballots much earlier than the morning of the election.”
There has been bipartisan support for the legislation across the Commonwealth.
“I wholeheartedly support Representative Conklin’s pre-canvassing legislation. It is imperative that we join forces, transcending party lines, to guarantee a seamless and effective electoral process for every Pennsylvanian,” said Philadelphia City Commissioner Seth Bluestein (R).
House Bill 847 also plans to increase election security before Election Day, increase transparency for viewing the pre-canvass and actual canvass of ballots, and notify anyone with minor defects to ballots so they can be corrected before Election Day.