Governor Wolf Signs Historic Election Reform Bill Including New Mail-in Voting
I voted in support of Act 77 which will bring about several voter-friendly election reforms in PA. This is a bipartisan bill that creates the most significant improvements to our elections in more than 80 years and will improve access to voting for many PA residents.
This new law does not impact the Nov. 5 Election next week. However, the following changes will be in effect for the 2020 election:
- Allows no-excuse mail-in voting: The law creates a new option to vote by mail without needing an excuse.
- Sets a 50-day mail-in voting period: Voters can request and submit their mail-in or absentee ballot up to 50 days before the election. That's the longest vote-by-mail period in the country, according to information from the governor's office.
- Establishes a permanent mail-in and absentee ballot list: Voters can request to receive applications for mail-in or absentee ballots for all primary, general and special elections held in a given year. Counties will mail applications to voters on the list by the first Monday of each February. Voters who return an application will receive ballots for each election scheduled through the next February.
- Extends voter registration time: The deadline to register to vote is extended to 15 days before an election. Previously, it was 30 days before.
- Extends mail-in and absentee submission deadlines: Voters can submit mail-in absentee ballots until 8 p.m. on Election Day. The current deadline is 5 p.m. on the Friday before an election.
- Eliminates straight-party ticket voting. Voters will no longer be able to vote straight-party with one vote.
- Authorizes a $90 million bond for voting systems: The law allows for the bond to reimburse counties for up to 60 percent of their actual costs to replace voting systems. The new systems will have enhanced security to prevent hacking and produce an anonymous paper trail.