The House of Representatives today advanced an amended version of the Voting Rights Protection Act (House Bill 1800)
, setting up a final vote in December to modernize Pennsylvania’s election system, according to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Seth Grove (R-Dover), chairman of the House State Government Committee.
The bill was amended in the House to include guidelines for when mail-in ballots are to be pre-canvassed and counted.
The amendment offered by Rep. Tracy Pennycuick (R-Montgomery) would require absentee and mail-in ballots received before Election Day be opened and counted by 9 p.m. election night. All mail-in and absentee ballots received on Election Day would need to be opened and counted by 2 a.m. the following day. Finally, election offices must compute all returns from each precinct, with the exception of provisional ballots, and all canvassed mail-in or absentee ballots, by no later than 6 a.m. the day after the election.
Already included in the bill is a provision to give counties the ability to start counting mail-in ballots ahead of Election Day.
“Voters should not have to wait a day or two for trustworthy election results. There have been cases in which a candidate went to bed on election night thinking he or she won, only to find out otherwise the next morning because all the votes hadn’t been counted the previous night,” Grove said. “This amendment provides a more than reasonable timeframe to ensure accurate results are delivered on time.”
The Voting Rights Protection Act would greatly modernize Pennsylvania elections, making them more accessible and more secure.
Representative Seth Grove
Pennsylvania House of Representatives