The most comprehensive effort to modernize and improve Pennsylvania’s elections since the 1930s was passed by the House of Representatives and ultimately signed into law.

“This bill was not written to benefit one party or the other, or any one candidate or single election. It was developed over a multi-year period, with input from people of different backgrounds and regions of Pennsylvania. It serves to preserve the integrity of every election and lift the voice of every voter in the Commonwealth.”
              - PA House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler

What Does the New Law Do?

- Makes voting more convenient by establishing no-excuse mail-in voting.

The mail-in voting will work similar to the current absentee ballot system but would allow any registered voter to vote by mail, increasing access for all voters. Further, all mailed and absentee ballots will go to centralized locations, not to individual precincts, strengthening security and timeliness, and helping provide clear and definitive election results as quickly as possible. All voters can request and submit their mail-in or absentee ballot up to 50 days before the election, which is the longest vote-by-mail period in the country.

- Allows voters to choose candidates by eliminating the straight-party ballot option.

Pennsylvania now joins 40 other states in eliminating the antiquated practice of straight-party voting. The vast majority of states removed straight-party voting years ago, believing the electorate has the right to choose people over party, and let their personal beliefs lead them in the voting booth, not just a one-party box.

- Extends voter registration to up to 15 days prior to an election.

Currently, Pennsylvanians face a registration deadline of 30 days before an election.

- Allows more time for absentee ballot submission.

Voters can submit mail-in and absentee ballots until 8 p.m. on election day. The current deadline is 5 p.m. on the Friday before an election, which is the most restrictive in the country.

Note: previously established policies for members of the military and emergency voting remain in place.

The election reforms contained in this bill are scheduled to go into effect next year.

>> Read the legislation for additional reforms.

Helping Counties Pay for New, More Secure Machines

The legislation also provides the pathway for the state to provide $90 million in bonding to help every Pennsylvania county pay for newly required modern voting machines. Gov. Tom Wolf acted unilaterally to de-certify voting machines statewide and required counties to obtain more advanced and secure voting machines that produce a verifiable paper trail with each vote. The Legislature moved to provide the funding in June; however, the governor vetoed that measure.

“Gov. Wolf’s action forced counties into a corner,” House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler said. “Every county was required to come up with new machines regardless of their current voting systems. House Republicans responded in June and again today, hearing from our counties and providing more money than the administration asked for.”