Rabb highlights election-related legislation following Tuesday’s special elections

HARRISBURG, May 17 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., is highlighting multiple election-related bills in the wake of Tuesday’s House of Representative special elections and municipal primary elections in Pennsylvania.

“The special elections that occurred yesterday decided the fate of who will control the House of Representatives,” Rabb said. “The process by which we elect people in special elections is as important as regularly scheduled elections. That is why I have reintroduced legislation to modernize the process.”

Rabb said his legislation to modernize the special election process would ensure special elections are timely, cost effective and accessible by requiring that special elections happen sooner when a seat becomes vacant more than 90 days before the next election; requiring automatic mail-in voting for all elections while providing county boards of election the option to establish satellite voting sites; subsidizing special elections from restitution paid by elected officials who have vacated their seats because of a felony conviction; and allowing candidates to electronically obtain nomination petition signatures.

Rabb also has legislation in the works that would establish rotating ballot positions for candidates, requiring the randomization of each precinct’s list of candidates so that no individual precinct would reflect the same order on the ballot, thus ensuring that no candidate has the unfair advantage of topping every ballot.

Additionally, Rabb is drafting legislation (H.B. 1772) that would bring ranked choice voting to Pennsylvania.

“Where the Democratic nominee for Philadelphia mayor won less than 1/3 of the total vote, it is clear we need ways to document not just who voters vote for, but how strongly they feel about each candidate. Under rank choice voting, the nominee would have to get a simple majority of the votes - which may have changed the candidate who won the nominee in this case,” Rabb said.

Rabb said ranked choice voting is a commonsense reform that enables voters to rank candidates by order of preference rather than simply choosing one candidate. Doing so promotes majority support, discourages negative campaigning, provides more choices to voters, and encourages more reflective representation, he said.

“Bringing more fairness to the election process will lead to more accurate representation in government, which will bring about a fairer and more equitable society,” he said.