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Boscola Bulletin

Senate Approves Major Boscola Voting Reform bill that includes No Excuse Mail-in Option

With the passage of Senate Bill 421, Pennsylvania’s election laws will see changes they haven't seen in more than 80 years 

Yesterday the state Senate voted 35 to 14 in favor of Senate Bill 421 that modernizes Pennsylvania’s antiquated voting laws and provides greater access for voters.

The omnibus bill, which I am the prime sponsor of, is the largest voting modernization bill in decades.  It includes my proposal to do away with straight party voting.

Senator Boscola Floor Remarks on SB 421 :: October 29, 2019

SB 421 makes Pennsylvania’s democracy stronger by improving the most critical function in any democracy – voting and makes our elections more secure by helping to pay for new voting machines with paper trails.  It also makes registering to vote easier by extending the time to register to vote to 15 days before an election from 30 days.

Additionally, this bill will make certain more votes will be counted by changing the deadline for absentee ballots from the Friday before election until Election day.  That would have allowed 8,000 more votes to be counted in 2018.

Finally, SB 421 would create a no excuse mail-in voting option for all Pennsylvania voters.  I love the thought of friends & families sitting around kitchen tables and in living rooms – converting them into polling places. Researching a candidate can be done while you vote from the comfort of your own home.

On the elimination of the straight ticket option, elections have always been about the individual to me. I think it might have started when I was able to first vote. In that primary election, I remember voting for Jimmy Carter along with my Mom and Dad who were running for local and state committee positions. I remember how proud I was to pull the lever for them. Straight party ticket always seemed to elevate the party over the candidate, which I always felt was bad for our democracy.

Did you know that currently Pennsylvania is one of only eight states that still have the straight party voting option on their ballot? Under the new law, voters would still have the option of voting for all candidates from the same political party but would just need to take an extra minute to work their way down the ballot and vote for those candidates individually.

The voters of Pennsylvania are the big winners with SB 421 and I hope this is just the beginning.

While it was not included in Senate Bill 421, I will continue to press for allowing registered independents to vote in the primary election of their choice. This Commonwealth has over a million independent voters who deserve a say in primary elections that often produce uncontested candidates in November general elections.

Senate Bill 421 now moves to the governor. He has indicated that he will sign the bill into law tomorrow, October 31, 2019 at 11:00am.

Significant Pennsylvania Election Reform

democracySimply put, passing this bill will improve our democracy here in Pennsylvania.

This bill makes elections more about candidates than parties with the elimination of the straight party ticket voting option.

This bill makes it easier for people to vote by allowing a “no excuse” mail-in option.

Our democracy will be stronger if more votes are counted.

Our democracy will be stronger if our elections are more secure.

And, our democracy will be more successful if more people participate.

Statewide support of SB421

Thank you to ACLU of PA, Common Cause of PA and Pennsylvania League of Women Voters for your support of Senate Bill 421. The modernization of our election laws and improving access and ability to vote is a win-win for all across this Commonwealth - below you can read their statements of support:

Capitolwire: General Assembly approves ‘historic’ compromise to modernize PA election law, Wolf will sign.

REAL ID Reminder

By Chris Comisac
Bureau Chief
Capitolwire

HARRISBURG (Oct. 29) – Not since the 1930s has Pennsylvania made far-ranging changes to its election laws, but several changes are coming after the General Assembly on Tuesday sent legislation to Gov. Tom Wolf for his expected signature.

On Tuesday afternoon, a bipartisan 138-61 vote of the state House of Representatives returned Senate Bill 421 to the Senate, which later in the day voted 35-14 (eight Democrats joining all 27 Republicans) to agree with changes made to the bill by the House during the past week.

“This is probably the most historic reform bill we’ve done, not only in my time, but in decades,” said Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre, who noted SB 421 is the culmination of a process that started in June 2017, when committee meetings were held during a 27-month period to discuss a variety of issue related to modernizing Pennsylvania’s elections.

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Offices of State Senator Lisa M. Boscola

www.senatorboscola.com

BETHLEHEM OFFICE
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