Pa. House Democrats want to make sure Your Vote Counts

HARRISBURG Jan. 14 – More than a dozen House Democrats today began seeking support for bills to increase voter turnout, make it easier for citizens to register to vote and to cast a ballot, and restore peoples’ faith in their elections.


“American democracy started here in 1776, but in 2019 special interests have too much power that should belong to the voters,” House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody said. “We have a plan to take Pennsylvania from one of the toughest states in which to vote to one of the easiest for a voter to get registered, get informed and get heard.”


Your Vote Counts includes bills to make it easier to cast a ballot, including:


Election Day Starts NOW – four separate bills sponsored by Reps. Pam Snyder, Eddie Day Pashinski, Tony DeLuca and Jennifer O’Mara – ends the 19th century practice of having Election Day on one Tuesday and allow people to vote up to a month in advance of the scheduled Election Day at designated locations. This is already is happening in 40 other states. Say goodbye to long lines, overburdened poll workers and overwhelmed, obsolete voting machines.


Your Mailbox is Your Ballot Box – sponsored by Rep. Rob Matzie – helps every voter, but especially police officers, firefighters, medical personnel and other voters who can’t find time to cast a ballot, by allowing everyone to submit their ballot by mail. It’s secure, safe and every registered voter gets a ballot sent to them so turnout will go up -- like it already has in Oregon, Washington and Colorado.


The Ballot Comes to You – sponsored by Rep. Liz Hanbidge – requires poll workers to bring ballots to the vehicles of seniors, people with disabilities or temporary injuries who came to the polling place but cannot make it inside.


Cure For Cursive – sponsored by Rep. Mike Schlossberg – allows people whose signatures aren’t as crisp and precise as they once were to submit an updated signature for the voting book.


My Vote is My Business – two separate bills sponsored by Reps. Neal Goodman and Brian Sims – takes the burden of proof off the voter seeking an absentee ballot to provide a reason for needing one.


Your Vote Shouldn’t Cost Your Job – sponsored by Rep. Mary Isaacson – requires employers to offer paid or no-fault unpaid leave for workers to get to their polling place to cast a ballot.


More Time for Absentees – sponsored by Rep. Tina Davis –gives more time to submit absentee ballots to allow voters, like military voters overseas, to be heard.


Election Day is a Holiday – sponsored by Rep. Mary Jo Daley – helps increase turnout by making Primary Election Day and General Election Day a state holiday.


Your Vote Counts includes bills to make it easier to register to vote, including:


Show Up and Vote – sponsored by Rep. Ryan Bizzarro – increases voter turnout by allowing same-day registration. Voters can register and vote with a provisional ballot at their local polling place on election day, instead of requiring preregistration weeks in advance.


Future Voters – sponsored by Rep. Brandon Markosek – energizes young voters to take part by getting them preregistered at age 16 or 17 and reminding them about voting at age 18.


Click Here to Register – sponsored by Rep. Mary Jo Daley – turns Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2015 executive action allowing online voter registration into a law so no future governor beholden to special interests could take it away.


You’re Registered – sponsored by Rep. Sara Innamorato – automatically registers every qualified citizen interacting with Pennsylvania government to vote. Driver’s licenses, benefit applications, any interaction gets you registered to vote unless you say “no.”


You Move, Your Vote Moves With You – sponsored by Rep. Joe Webster – automatically moves a person’s registration with them if they move to a new house in Pennsylvania. Right now even if you move across the street you need to file new paperwork.


Your Vote Counts includes bills to end the influence of rich special interests on elections, including:


The People’s Voice – three separate bills sponsored by Reps. Gerald Mullery, Perry Warren and Kevin Boyle – requires so-called “dark money” to be brought into the light to allow all people to see who’s behind those negative TV commercials, web ads and robocalls.


Protect America – Show Your Taxes – sponsored by Rep. Tim Briggs – requires all candidates for president of the United States and governor of Pennsylvania to release their tax returns so the people can know about any financial issues that might conflict with serving the people.


Corporations Aren’t People – sponsored by Rep. Frank Dermody – calls on Congress to change the law allowing special interests to bankroll elections in secret so the people know who’s paying to influence elections.


Government for the People – sponsored by Rep. Frank Dermody – puts limits on the money special interests can spend on Pennsylvania elections.


And, finally, Your Vote Counts also includes Fix Our Elections – sponsored by Rep. Chris Rabb – a single bill that brings all these ideas together.


House Democrats created the Your Vote Counts legislation after seeing recent reports from states like North Carolina, Wisconsin and Michigan of voters being denied the chance to register, polling places shut down to artificially create long lines, and sore losers trying to change the rules after losing fair elections.