Aug. 05, 2021

By Rep. Steve Mentzer (R-Lititz)
This week, in my second of three articles, I will explain expanded voter rights, protections and access as part of House Bill 1300. The Pennsylvania Election Code will provide electors more opportunity to vote, as well as enhanced rights and protections when casting your ballot.

House Bill 1300 establishes a Bill of Rights, which must be posted at each polling location for voters, seniors and the disabled. For example: All polling locations must be accessible, service animals are permitted, and no voter should wait longer than 30 minutes to cast their vote.

Early voting would be established starting in the 2025 primary election. This would allow counties sufficient time to prepare for this expanded voting process. Early voting centers would be required in all counties and could be open from 7a.m. to 8 p.m. on the second Friday prior to an election until the first Wednesday prior to an election.

Each voting center must be continually secured, monitored by staff and by video recording. Early voting centers must be in certain government-owned buildings with sufficient security. Counties would be required to publish the total number of electors having cast ballots each day. Supervised absentee voting would be established in certain assisted living and nursing home facilities upon the request of the administrator of that facility.

House Bill 1300 would establish a curing process for mail-in ballots or absentee ballots with certain curable errors, including an inability to match the signature with the signature of record, the lack of a signature or date. Any curing must be completed prior to the close of polls on election day.

While early voting may not be a priority for many voters, it is certainly a willing compromise to ensure voter integrity. Next week, I will discuss reforms to the administration of elections. This will cover items like the requirements for an audit.