Rabb to reignite effort to reform special elections for Pa. legislature

HARRISBURG, March 12 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., announced today that he plans to re-introduce legislation to reform the special election nomination process for the Pennsylvania legislature. 
“Far too often, special elections across the commonwealth fail to honor our participatory democracy, where the people, not a political party, are supposed to be in charge of choosing a candidate,” Rabb explained. “My bill aims to prevent nominees from being hand-picked, putting the responsibility solely in the hands of voters, and restore public faith in the special election process for senators and representatives in the General Assembly.”

Under Rabb's bill, people interested in running in a special election would be required to:

  • File their candidacy with the political party in each county of the legislative district.
  • Pay a modest filing fee.
  • Prepare, or publicly opt out of preparing, a short video announcing their candidacy, which would be posted on the Department of State's website and made available to the Pennsylvania Cable Network.

Rabb's bill also would require political parties to advertise and hold a public meeting to consider each person who seeks nomination as a candidate in a special election.

“The whole point of an election is to choose the best person fit to serve, period,” Rabb said. “Instead, current special election rules favor a process that deters a wide variety of candidates from running. We must stop kicking the can down the road, address this issue and ensure Pennsylvanians have a voice.”
Rabb initially introduced his bill in the 2017-18 legislative session.