Opinion-Editorial: Republican voting legislation leads to a path of taking voters’ rights away

I believe there is no greater right than voters participating in democracy by casting their ballot to elect those who will represent them.

However, I feel the legislation that Republicans recently pushed through the House would restrict access for voters and impinge on their rights.

It is vital to remove barriers for voters to use ballot boxes, and while I support and believe voter ID is an important keystone of voting, we should not add other restrictions to make it more difficult for voters to cast their ballot.

During last year’s general election, Pennsylvania had the greatest voter turnout because we had mail-in and early voting.

I support free and fair elections – and I’ve introduced two pieces of commonsense legislation this session and multiple sessions previously to make it easier for voters to exercise their right to participate in democracy.

House Bill 316 would create a devoted system of true early voting at more locations to be established by county boards of elections. This would make voting more accessible than in 2020, when Pennsylvanians who wanted to vote early in-person would request a mail-in ballot at a county elections office, wait for it to get approved on the spot, fill it out, and turn it back immediately.

I also re-introduced a bill that would allow same-day registration on Election Day, which has proven to be effective for turnout in other states. House Bill 215 would accomplish the same goal by allowing voters who register at their polling place on Election Day to cast their ballot immediately. To do so, voters must provide proper identification, like a driver’s license or government ID card. My legislation would help to increase voter turnout and participation, which benefits us all.

What the elected House Republican majority is doing in here in Pennsylvania, and throughout the nation, is jeopardizing our democracy and free elections with legislation, like H.B. 1300, and the continuation of lies about voter fraud that spread like wildfire online. As we’ve learned from every state and every investigation into the election, there is no evidence of mass voter fraud.

But if we continue down this current path, I feel we run the risk of voters’ rights being taken away. And nothing is less American than that.