State Commissioner Association, Pa. Democrat make election reform top priority in the Commonwealth

This Week in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — For months, Republican lawmakers have been complaining about the 2020 election. On Friday evening, the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania and a House Democrat agree changes are needed, and hopefully, they come before the next election.

The 2020 election in Pennsylvania included a major overhaul of the law, a pandemic, a deep partisan divide, and a several-day delay counting all of the votes.

“Of course it caused anxiety. It caused confusion, and our counties took the brunt of that,” said Lisa Schaefer, executive director of the state commissioners association.

This week, the County Commissioners Association made election reform its top priority, specifically allowing mail-in ballots to be processed days or weeks in advance.

“So we can focus on that and have those timely results, and reduce the confusion we saw last year,” Schaefer said.

State Representative Mike Carroll (D-Lackawanna, Luzerne Counties) will introduce a bill that would let counties pre-canvass the Saturday before Election Day.

“My bill would eliminate the secrecy envelope because I think it’s a duplicative step,” Carroll said.

The Democrat from northeast Pa. would move back registration deadlines to 15 days and allow drop boxes. He wouldn’t allow ballot curing our counting after 8 p.m. on Election Day. He calls it a middle ground compromise.

“We’re not gonna do away with mail-in voting. The Governor and Democrats are not gonna agree to that,” Carroll said. “And we’re not gonna have what progressives suggest like same-day voting and same-day registration that the Democrats want.”

What counties want is an unambiguous law with plain language that isn’t open to interpretation or requires further guidance.

“We definitely need clarity. We need tighter rules that everybody no matter what county they live in can be assured they’re seeing the exact same election,” Carroll said.

Lawmakers don’t have a lot of time to make the requested changes. The next election is the 2021 primary election on May 18.

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