Harrisburg – The State Senate approved legislation Tuesday that will bring the most comprehensive changes to Pennsylvania’s election laws in more than eight decades, according to Sen. Bob Mensch (R-24).The measure now goes to the governor to be signed in to law.
Senate Bill 421 will also provide $90 million in much-needed funding to replace county voting machines, boosting election security and ensuring that local taxpayers did not have to pick up the tab for the required upgrades.
Among its provisions, the bill would:
- Extend the deadline for voters to submit an absentee ballot, from the Friday before Election Day until 8 p.m. on Election Day.
- Push back the voter registration deadline from 30 days before an election to 15 days.
- Allow voters to request and submit an absentee ballot by mail without providing a reason.
- Create a permanent mail-in voter list.
Mensch said the changes will promote a stronger system in which every voter can be certain that their vote counts, without creating any unnecessary delays for state residents to exercise their right to vote.
The bill also eliminates antiquated straight-party voting, something that 40 states have already done.
“The state Election Code was written in 1937, and the revisions that have been made since have not kept up with the times,” Mensch said. “Implementing these updates will streamline the voting process and help counties pay for technology to ensure accurate, secure vote tallies.”
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