PRINTER'S NO. 593

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA


HOUSE BILL

No. 520 Session of 2007


        INTRODUCED BY GRUCELA, TANGRETTI, FREEMAN, BIANCUCCI, BISHOP,
           BOYD, CALTAGIRONE, COHEN, COSTA, DALEY, DENLINGER,
           DePASQUALE, DONATUCCI, FRANKEL, BARRAR, GEORGE, GERGELY,
           GOODMAN, HENNESSEY, JOSEPHS, KING, KOTIK, KULA, MAHONEY,
           MANN, McILHATTAN, MYERS, M. O'BRIEN, PARKER, REED, SCAVELLO,
           SCHRODER, M. SMITH, SOLOBAY, STABACK, BENNINGHOFF, THOMAS AND
           GIBBONS, MARCH 6, 2007

        REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON STATE GOVERNMENT, MARCH 6, 2007

                                     AN ACT

     1  Amending Title 25 (Elections) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated
     2     Statutes, further providing for qualifications to register
     3     and for eligibility for primaries; and making related
     4     repeals.

     5     The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
     6  hereby enacts as follows:
     7     Section 1.  Sections 1301, 1325(b) and 1327 of Title 25 of
     8  the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes are amended to read:
     9  § 1301.  Qualifications to register.
    10     (a)  Eligibility.--An individual who will be at least 18
    11  years of age on the day of the next election, who has been a
    12  citizen of the United States for at least one month prior to the
    13  next election and who has resided in this Commonwealth and the
    14  election district where the individual offers to vote for at
    15  least 30 days prior to the next ensuing election and has not
    16  been confined in a penal institution for a conviction of a


     1  felony within the last five years shall be eligible to register
     2  as provided in this chapter.
     3     (b)  Effect.--No individual shall be permitted to vote at any
     4  election unless the individual is registered under this
     5  subsection, except as provided by law or by order of a court of
     6  common pleas. No registered elector shall be required to
     7  register again for any election while the elector continues to
     8  reside at the same address.
     9     (c)  Removal of residence.--Except as otherwise provided by
    10  this part, a registered elector who removes residence from one
    11  place to another outside the elector's last election district
    12  shall not be entitled to vote in the election district of the
    13  elector's last residence except pursuant to the provisions of
    14  this section and sections 1501(b) (relating to removal notices),
    15  1502 (relating to transfer of registration) and 1902 (relating
    16  to procedure for voting following failure to return notification
    17  card).
    18     (d)  Eligibility for primaries.--An individual who meets the
    19  requirements of subsection (a) who will be at least 18 years of
    20  age on the day of the next general or municipal election may
    21  register and vote for the corresponding primary. No person shall
    22  be entitled to vote as a member of a party at any primary unless
    23  he is registered and enrolled as a member of such party upon the
    24  district register. This enrollment upon the district register
    25  shall be conclusive as to his party membership and shall not be
    26  subject to challenge on the day of the primary.
    27  § 1325.  Government agencies.
    28     * * *
    29     (b)  Forms.--An agency designated in subsection (a) shall
    30  provide a form for office visits or, if the agency provides
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     1  services to persons with disabilities, for home visits which
     2  contains all of the following:
     3         (1)  The question "If you are not registered to vote
     4     where you live now, would you like to apply to register to
     5     vote today?"
     6         (2)  If the agency provides public assistance, the
     7     statement "Applying to register or declining to register to
     8     vote will not affect the amount of assistance that you will
     9     be provided by this agency."
    10         (3)  Boxes for the applicant to check to indicate whether
    11     the applicant would like to register or decline to register
    12     to vote. In close proximity to the boxes the following words
    13     shall appear in prominent type: "IF YOU DO NOT CHECK EITHER
    14     BOX, YOU WILL BE CONSIDERED TO HAVE DECIDED NOT TO REGISTER
    15     TO VOTE AT THIS TIME."
    16         (4)  The statement "In order to be qualified to register
    17     to vote, you must be at least 18 years of age on the day of
    18     the next general, municipal or special election, you must
    19     have been a citizen of the United States for at least one
    20     month prior to the next election and have resided in
    21     Pennsylvania and the election district where you plan to vote
    22     for at least 30 days prior to the next election, and you must
    23     not have been confined in a penal institution for a
    24     conviction of a felony within the last five years."
    25         (5)  The statement "If you would like help in filling out
    26     the voter registration application form, we will help you.
    27     The decision whether to seek help is yours. You may fill out
    28     the form in private."
    29         (6)  The statement "If you believe that someone has
    30     interfered with your right to register or to decline to
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     1     register to vote, your right to privacy in deciding whether
     2     to register or in applying to register to vote or your right
     3     to choose your own political party or other political
     4     preference, you may file a complaint with the Secretary of
     5     the Commonwealth, Pennsylvania Department of State,
     6     Harrisburg, PA 17120." The secretary shall establish and
     7     publish a toll-free telephone number for the purpose of
     8     receiving complaints.
     9     * * *
    10  § 1327.  Preparation and distribution of applications.
    11     (a)  Form.--
    12         (1)  The secretary shall prescribe the form of an
    13     official voter registration application. The official voter
    14     registration application shall provide space for the
    15     following information about the applicant:
    16             (i)  Full name.
    17             (ii)  Address of residence. If the residence is a
    18         portion only of the house, the location or number of the
    19         room, apartment or floor which is occupied.
    20             (iii)  Mailing address if different than address of
    21         residence.
    22             (iv)  Name and residence address on previous
    23         registration and the year of that registration.
    24             (v)  Designation of political party, for the purpose
    25         of voting at a primary election.
    26             (vi)  Date of birth.
    27             (vii)  Telephone number. An application shall not be
    28         rejected because of noncompliance with this subparagraph.
    29             (viii)  Race. An application shall not be rejected
    30         because of noncompliance with this subparagraph.
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     1         (2)  Data required on the voter registration application
     2     shall not be more nor less than the minimum data elements
     3     permissible for Federal voter registration.
     4         (3)  Any person who assists in the completion of the
     5     registration application shall sign the application and
     6     indicate the person's address. In the case of those
     7     registering under sections 1323 (relating to application with
     8     driver's license application) and 1325 (relating to
     9     government agencies), the person providing assistance shall
    10     insert the person's initials or employee or agent
    11     identification number on a separate or detachable portion of
    12     the application or computer data file.
    13         (4)  A voter registration application shall be printed on
    14     stock of good quality and shall be of suitable uniform size.
    15     Nothing in this part shall prohibit the design and use of an
    16     electronic voter registration application which includes the
    17     applicant's digitized or electronic signature. The
    18     registration application shall contain the following
    19     information; however, the information may be provided on a
    20     separate form for voter registration made under section 1323
    21     or 1325:
    22             (i)  Notice that a registered elector does not need
    23         to reregister unless the registered elector has moved.
    24             (ii)  Instructions on how to fill out and submit the
    25         application and notification of when the application must
    26         be submitted to a voter registration office in order to
    27         be registered for the ensuing election.
    28             (iii)  Notice that the applicant must be a citizen of
    29         the United States for at least one month prior to the
    30         next election and a resident of this Commonwealth and the
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     1         election district for at least 30 days and must be at
     2         least 18 years of age by the day of the next [ensuing]
     3         general, municipal or special election and has not been
     4         confined in a penal institution for a conviction of a
     5         felony within the last five years. The notice required in
     6         this subparagraph shall be in print identical to the
     7         declaration under subsection (b).
     8             (iv)  Notice that political party enrollment is
     9         mandatory to vote in a primary election of a political
    10         party.
    11             (v)  Notice that the commission will mail by
    12         nonforwardable mail to the applicant a voter's
    13         identification card upon acceptance of the application
    14         and that the applicant should contact the commission if
    15         the identification card is not received within 14 days
    16         from the date the application is sent to the registration
    17         office.
    18             (vi)  Notice that registration is not complete until
    19         the application is processed and accepted by the
    20         commission.
    21             (vii)  A warning to the applicant that making a false
    22         registration or furnishing false information is perjury.
    23         The notice required in this subparagraph shall be in
    24         print identical to the declaration under subsection (b).
    25             (viii)  Instructions to Federal or State employees
    26         who wish to retain voting residence in county of last
    27         residence to so indicate on the application.
    28             (ix)  Notice that, if an individual declines to
    29         register to vote, the fact that the individual has
    30         declined to register will remain confidential and will be
    20070H0520B0593                  - 6 -     

     1         used only for voter registration purposes. The notice
     2         required in this subparagraph shall be in print identical
     3         to the declaration under subsection (b).
     4             (x)  Notice that, if an individual does register to
     5         vote, the office at which the individual submits a voter
     6         registration application will remain confidential and
     7         will be used for voter registration purposes only. The
     8         notices required in this subparagraph shall be in print
     9         identical to the declaration in subsection (b).
    10         (5)  In jurisdictions where there is a single language
    11     minority, the secretary may print a bilingual application.
    12         (6)  In jurisdictions where a single language minority
    13     exceeds 5% of the population, the secretary shall:
    14             (i)  print a bilingual application; and
    15             (ii)  conduct a public educational program among that
    16         language group alerting both organizations and
    17         individuals of that group of the availability of the
    18         bilingual application and encouraging individuals to
    19         register.
    20         (7)  To implement section 1324 (relating to application
    21     by mail), the secretary shall print an official voter
    22     registration mail application designed to preserve the
    23     confidentiality of the information required to be submitted.
    24     The application shall contain information required by this
    25     section and shall include the name of each county seat, its
    26     post office mailing address and zip code and its telephone
    27     number. Voter registration mail applications shall contain
    28     information indicating whether the application is a new
    29     registration, change of party enrollment, change of address
    30     or change of name.
    20070H0520B0593                  - 7 -     

     1         (8)  Nothing in this part shall prohibit a private
     2     organization or individual from printing blank voter
     3     registration applications or shall prohibit the use of such
     4     applications by any other individual, provided that the form,
     5     content and paper quality of such voter registration
     6     application complies with department regulations for the
     7     forms or has received prior approval from the secretary.
     8     (b)  Registration declaration.--
     9         (1)  The official voter registration application shall
    10     contain a registration declaration. On the declaration, the
    11     applicant shall state all of the following:
    12             (i)  The applicant has been a citizen of the United
    13         States for at least one month prior to the next election.
    14             (ii)  On the day of the next [ensuing] general,
    15         municipal or special election, the applicant shall be at
    16         least 18 years of age.
    17             (iii)  On the day of the next ensuing election, the
    18         applicant shall have resided in this Commonwealth and in
    19         the election district for at least 30 days.
    20             (iv)  The applicant has not been confined in a penal
    21         institution for a conviction of a felony within the last
    22         five years.
    23             (v)  The applicant is legally qualified to vote.
    24         (2)  The applicant shall affirm all of the following:
    25             (i)  The information provided in the registration
    26         declaration is true.
    27             (ii)  The applicant understands that:
    28                 (A)  the registration declaration will be
    29             accepted for all purposes as the equivalent of an
    30             affidavit; and
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     1                 (B)  if the registration contains a material
     2             false statement, the applicant shall be subject to
     3             penalties for perjury.
     4         (3)  The registration declaration shall contain the
     5     printed name and signature of the applicant and the date of
     6     signing. An applicant unable to sign the voter registration
     7     application shall make a mark before a person of the
     8     applicant's choice other than the applicant's employer or an
     9     agent of the applicant's union. The person shall insert the
    10     person's name, address and telephone number. If the person is
    11     an employee or agent of the Department of Transportation or
    12     another agency as provided under section 1325 and is
    13     assisting the applicant in an official capacity, the employee
    14     or agent shall insert the initials and identification number
    15     of the employee or agent. In the case of applicants
    16     registering under section 1323 or 1325, the person providing
    17     assistance shall insert initials or employee or agent
    18     identification number on a separate or detachable portion of
    19     the application or computer data file.
    20         (4)  The official registration application shall contain
    21     a notice entitled "PENALTY FOR FALSIFYING DECLARATION." The
    22     notice shall advise the applicant that if a person signs an
    23     official registration application knowing a statement
    24     declared in the application to be false, the person commits
    25     perjury. The notice shall specify the penalty for perjury.
    26     (c)  Distribution.--
    27         (1)  The secretary shall supply official registration
    28     applications to commissions.
    29         (2)  The secretary shall make available for distribution
    30     official voter registration applications to public libraries,
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     1     public schools, State-related institutions of higher
     2     education, offices operated by the Department of Revenue,
     3     offices operated by the Department of Aging, area agencies on
     4     aging, offices operated by the Pennsylvania Game Commission
     5     or any of its authorized license-issuing agents, offices
     6     operated by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission or any
     7     of its issuing agents, and offices that provide unemployment
     8     compensation.
     9         (3)  Each participating agency identified under paragraph
    10     (2) shall:
    11             (i)  Provide that official voter registration mail
    12         applications are available on the premises and displayed
    13         prominently in a conspicuous location during normal
    14         business hours.
    15             (ii)  Provide an official voter registration mail
    16         application to any individual requesting one.
    17             (iii)  Provide reasonable space for nonpartisan signs
    18         or posters indicating the availability of official voter
    19         registration mail applications on the premises.
    20         (4)  The secretary may provide technical assistance to
    21     commissions upon request and agencies designated under
    22     paragraph (2).
    23         (5)  The secretary shall print and distribute mail
    24     registration applications which are not postage paid and
    25     which shall not be specific to any county registration
    26     office. Along with the distribution of such applications, the
    27     secretary shall also include instructions to inform the
    28     applicant where the application is to be sent.
    29         (6)  The secretary and commissions shall supply
    30     applications to all of the following:
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     1             (i)  Persons and organizations who request
     2         applications.
     3             (ii)  Federal, State and political subdivision
     4         offices.
     5             (iii)  Political parties and political bodies.
     6             (iv)  Candidates.
     7     (d)  Staff.--Agency employees assisting in the distribution
     8  of voter registration applications under subsection (c) shall
     9  conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the following
    10  principles:
    11         (1)  They shall not seek to influence an applicant's
    12     political preference or party registration or display
    13     political preference or party allegiance.
    14         (2)  They shall not make any statement to an applicant or
    15     take any action the purpose of or effect of which is to
    16     discourage the applicant from registering to vote.
    17         (3)  They shall not make any statement to an applicant or
    18     take any action the purpose of or effect of which is to lead
    19     the applicant to believe that a decision to register or not
    20     to register has any bearing on the availability of services
    21     or benefits.
    22  Agency employees who violate this subsection shall be removed
    23  from employment, provided that the agency at its discretion may
    24  impose a penalty of suspension without pay for at least 30 days,
    25  but not more than 120 days, if it finds that the violation does
    26  not warrant termination.
    27     Section 2.  Repeals are as follows:
    28         (1)  The General Assembly declares that the repeal under
    29     paragraph (2) is necessary to effectuate the amendment of 25
    30     Pa.C.S. §§ 1301, 1325(b) and 1327.
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     1         (2)  Sections 701, 702, 703 and 704 of the act of June 3,
     2     1937 (P.L.1333, No.320), known as the Pennsylvania Election
     3     Code, are repealed.
     4     Section 3.  This act shall take effect in 60 days.


















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