McClinton unveils legislation to improve Pennsylvanians’ voting access

Bill includes provisions common in states like New Jersey, Virginia and Georgia

HARRISBURG, March 19 – State House Speaker Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, unveiled legislation at a Capitol news conference today that would improve access to the polls for lawfully registered Pennsylvania voters.

McClinton’s bill would allow registered Pennsylvania voters to vote early, in-person, during the two weeks leading up to Election Day and allow an eligible Pennsylvanian to register to vote at polling locations on Election Day.

“Voting is at the core of our national identity and among our most valued rights as Americans,” McClinton said. “Rather than spur distrust in our system and attack our dedicated election workers, we should look for ways to make the system accessible to more Pennsylvanians so their voices can be heard.

“Measures like these add convenience and security and have already been adopted in dozens of other states, including states with historic records of voter suppression like Florida and Georgia.”

McClinton said same-day voter registration would make it possible for eligible Pennsylvanians to register when it’s most relevant and convenient -- on Election Day. It would also enable real-time corrections to inaccurate voter rolls, strengthening the safety and security of the election system.

Allowing two weeks of early in-person voting on machines would give Pennsylvanians with demanding work schedules or dynamic family responsibilities an opportunity to cast their vote at a time that works best for them, she said. It would also relieve congestion at the busiest of polling locations. Finally, it would help seniors, especially those who use wheelchairs or walkers, by allowing more time to accommodate their needs.

At the news conference, McClinton was flanked by advocates and Pennsylvanians who would benefit from her legislation. Among them was Pennsylvania Voice executive director Salewa Ogunmefun, who said, “These commonsense reforms will not only make it more convenient for all Pennsylvanians to make their voices heard at the ballot box, they will also help make our elections more secure. We couldn’t be happier that Speaker McClinton has decided to make this a priority and look forward to working with her to get them passed into law.”

"I vote. I want to vote. I believe it’s my civic duty to vote. But when life becomes challenging, so can voting,” said Angela Madera, a voter from Allentown. “There are so many people like me who have to overcome barriers simply to cast our ballot. It shouldn’t be that way. Voting is our right. Pennsylvanians are busier than ever. Work schedules and family commitments vary. Our voting system needs to accommodate these new realities and reflect the needs of today’s citizens. I’m so grateful to the speaker for standing up for voters like me.”

“In order to have elections that are fully accessible to all, the Commonwealth must implement policies that are mindful of the challenges people with disabilities encounter when trying to vote. The changes proposed are welcome expansions to voting access in Pennsylvania and individuals with disabilities will especially benefit from more flexible opportunities to vote,” said Jennifer Garman, director of Government Affairs for Disability Rights Pennsylvania.

McClinton’s legislation compliments voting initiatives implemented by the Shapiro Administration in 2023, including automatic voter registration and redesigning mail-in ballots.

“As the birthplace of American democracy, it’s time we offered Pennsylvanians more options to vote safely and conveniently, reduce the time people wait in line to cast a ballot, and guarantee that every voter has enough time to exercise their right to participate in our elections. Every voice matters.” McClinton said.