Election code bill to be introduced by Carroll

HARRISBURG, Jan. 21 – State Rep. Mike Carroll, D-Luzerne/Lackawanna, will introduce legislation to amend the Pennsylvania Election Code later this month.

Carroll said the implementation of changes in voting procedures last year that included mail ballots, among other adjustments in the state’s voting processes, brought to light the urgent need for a series of changes that can improve and clarify what voters must do and how counties process ballots.

“After witnessing the June and November elections in 2020 and the experiences we’ve all had with the changes related to mail-in ballots, it’s become quite obvious that many adjustments are necessary for both voters and counties,” Carroll noted.

The changes being offered by Carroll include:

  • Return the voter registration deadline to 30 days before election day.  
  • Change the absentee and mail-in ballot application deadline to three weeks before election day.
  • Eliminate the mail-in ballot secrecy envelope.
  • Require that the pre-canvassing of mail-in ballots begin on the Saturday prior to election day.
  • Require counties to install one ballot drop box per 30,000 residents.
  • Prohibit the curing of ballots once received by the county board of elections.
  • Prohibit the receipt of mail-in or absentee ballots after 8 p.m. on election day, except for military ballots.

Recent recommendations by the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania highlighted the specific need to pre-canvass mail ballots earlier than election day and change the deadline by which a voter may apply for a mail ballot. 

“It is imperative clarifications are made to provide both clearer guidance on how our elections are managed and what voters must do to ensure their votes are counted. I intend to do all I can to prevent a stalemate in Harrisburg that results in inaction,” Carroll said.