Voting Rights Protection Act Re-Introduced

Following Gov. Tom Wolf's veto of the Pennsylvania Voting Rights Protection Act (formerly House Bill 1300) in June, Rep. Seth Grove has reintroduced the measure as House Bill 1800 after the governor says he now supports voter identification. 

In June, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Gov. Tom Wolf is now open to enhanced voter identification requirements in the Commonwealth. While this revelation would have been more welcomed when the General Assembly was moving House Bill 1300 through the legislative process, it is a productive development.

Read more details on the re-introduction of the bill.

About the Bill

The comprehensive Voting Rights Protection Act, introduced with input from state and local election officials, election experts and various stakeholders, addresses several serious fatal flaws in the Commonwealth’s Election Code. 

Statements on the bill's passage in the PA House in June 2021

Speaker Bryan Cutler: House Passes Voting Rights Protection Act

Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff: Pennsylvania Voting Rights Protection Act is a Tremendous Step Forward in Restoring Faith in Pennsylvania’s Election System

Rep. Seth Grove (bill sponsor): House Advances Legislation to Protect Pennsylvanians’ Voting Rights

Guaranteeing Access

To increase voter access, the bill would allow for:

- early in-person voting beginning in 2025;
- correcting non-fatal defects on mail-in ballots, such as unsigned or undated ballots (must be completed by 8 p.m. of Election Day).
- giving counties the option to use secure mail-in ballot drop boxes during specific times and at secure locations.
- increased access for voters with disabilities. 

To address issues raised by local election officials from all across Pennsylvania, the bill would:

- allow mail-in ballots to be counted starting five days before the election, as opposed to current law which allows the count to begin no earlier than 7 a.m. on Election Day.
- move the last day to register to vote back to 30 days prior to an election. 

Guaranteeing Trust

The Voting Rights Protection Act would tighten security by:

- expanding upon Pennsylvania’s current voter identification law,
- requiring regular election audits,
- improving election uniformity among the 67 counties as required by the PA Constitution,
- enhancing certification processes for all machines used in elections,
- requiring signature verification using ballot scanning equipment for mail-in and absentee ballots,
- directing counties to provide registered voters with a scannable and durable voter registration card, much like the identification cards currently issued to voters for use when voting in person. 
- improving lists of registered voters and more.  

To cost-effectively ensure voters can trust official election office websites and limit the dissemination of misinformation, all county election board websites would be required to use a .gov domain address. 

>> Comprehensive Voting Rights Protection Bill to Increase Voter Access Unveiled

>> Poll results shows Pennsylvania residents largely in favor of tougher vote security measures

Quick Highlights of the Bill

- Watermarks on ballots
Public access to review ballots after the election
Ban ballot harvesting
Secure drop boxes with cameras, election workers, and observers
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
Enhanced Voter ID
Signature Verification & 2 unique identifiers
Observers can see ballots
Public can review ballots after the election
Voter list maintenance - no dead people
Ban direct 3rd party funding of counties
Early in-person voting
5 days of additional pre-canvassing
Ensuring ADA compliance & accessibility
Realistic timelines for election administration
Funding county election operations
Comprehensive election audits
Uniformity across counties

Background Information

Election Law Hearings

Video links to the 10 election law hearings conducted by the PA House State Government Committee can be found here.

PA House State Government Committee report: A Comprehensive Review of Pennsylvania’s Election Laws: How Pennsylvania Can Guarantee Rights and Integrity in Our Election System

PA House State Government Meeting - June 15, 2021
Debate and vote on House Bill 1300 

Election Fraud is Real 

More on Election Fraud in Pennsylvania