Rabb highlights innovative election-related legislation

HARRISBURG, Nov. 2 – With Election Day just under a week away, state Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., today is highlighting a package of election-related legislation that would reshape the way elections are conducted in Pennsylvania.

“The election process is the keystone of our democracy, and I believe every eligible voter has the right to a process that is easy to use, understand, access and trust,” Rabb said. “There are too many systematic deterrents and structural flaws that disenfranchise current and potential voters. This legislation will break down those barriers and springboard our fragile participatory democracy toward a more equitable, inclusive and efficient electoral system.”

The legislation is as follows:

  • Making Election Day a state holiday, which would remove Columbus Day as a holiday and replace it with an Election Day holiday, (H.B. 2112, H.B. 2113 and H.B. 2114).
  • Rotating ballot positions, which would establish a randomized candidate ballot position rotation system to ensure no candidate has an unfair advantage based on the luck of the ballot position draw, (H.B. 1797).
  • Electing the president by popular vote, which would authorize the Commonwealth to join the Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote and thereby guarantee the presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes, (H.B. 270).
  • Modernizing the system by which the collection of signatures for nomination petitions would be done electronically, (H.B. 2917).
  • Establishing ranked choice voting, otherwise known as instant run-offs, which would enable voters to rank candidates by order of preference rather than simply choosing one candidate, (H.B. 1772).
  • Requiring background checks for candidates, which would require candidates to undergo background checks when filing their nomination petitions and affidavits, just like any other citizen of the Commonwealth does when applying for a job, (H.B. 1771).
  • Prohibiting individuals convicted of seditious conspiracy from running for office and creating a new offense and penalties for conducting seditious conspiracy against the Commonwealth, (H.Bs. 2762 and 2763).
  • Requiring decennial reapportionment of wards legislation that would require Philadelphia to commit to a transparent, equitable and inclusive reapportionment process for political wards within its municipal borders, (H.B. 2918).
  • Establishing broad special elections reforms that would make the candidate nomination process for special elections more transparent, inclusive and efficient; mandate that special elections occur on the next scheduled Election Day unless the vacated seat happens more than 90 days prior to said election; subsidize special elections from restitution paid by elected officials who have vacated their seats and been convicted of fraud, theft or corruption in their role as a public official; allow candidates who are not nominated by a party to run without a party affiliation; require special elections to be held by mail-in ballot only unless satellite election board offices are provided, (H.B. 2919).

Rabb said to be on the lookout for a “PA Youth Vote” omnibus voting rights bill inspired in part by stand-alone legislation promoted by other state lawmakers that address open primaries, voter pre-registration, same-day voter registration, civics education and more.