PRIOR PRINTER'S NO. 279

PRINTER'S NO.  3278

  

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA

  

HOUSE BILL

 

No.

259

Session of

2009

  

  

INTRODUCED BY GRUCELA, DERMODY, BEAR, BEYER, BISHOP, BRENNAN, CALTAGIRONE, CARROLL, COHEN, CONKLIN, DALEY, MYERS, BROWN, DALLY, DeLUCA, DENLINGER, DONATUCCI, EVERETT, FREEMAN, GABLER, GIBBONS, GOODMAN, GROVE, HARKINS, HENNESSEY, HICKERNELL, HORNAMAN, HUTCHINSON, JOSEPHS, KOTIK, KULA, LONGIETTI, MAHONEY, McILVAINE SMITH, MURT, MUSTIO, M. O'BRIEN, PRESTON, READSHAW, REED, ROCK, ROHRER, SCAVELLO, SIPTROTH, SOLOBAY, STABACK, THOMAS, VULAKOVICH, WALKO, WATSON, GERBER, PAYTON AND BOYLE, FEBRUARY 5, 2009

  

  

AS REPORTED FROM COMMITTEE ON STATE GOVERNMENT, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, AS AMENDED, MARCH 8, 2010   

  

  

  

AN ACT

  

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Amending Title 25 (Elections) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated

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Statutes, further providing for SURE system, for

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qualifications to register and for eligibility for primaries;

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providing for nomination petitions; and making related

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repeals.

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The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

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hereby enacts as follows:

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Section 1.  Sections 1301, 1325(b) and 1327 of Title 25 of

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the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes are amended to read:

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Section 1.  Section 1222(c) of Title 25 of the Pennsylvania

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Consolidated Statutes is amended by adding paragraphs to read:

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§ 1222.  SURE system.

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* * *

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(c)  Requirements.--The SURE system shall be developed as a

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single, uniform integrated computer system. All commissions

 


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shall be connected electronically to the SURE system and shall

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maintain their registration records in the system. The SURE

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system shall, at a minimum, do all of the following:

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* * *

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(22)  Allow individuals 17 years of age to register to

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vote.

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(23)  In the district register for a primary, show

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eligible individuals 17 years of age who will turn 18 years

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of age before the general or municipal election.

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(24)  In the district register, provide a prompt for an

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election officer to lock voters 17 years of age out of

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referenda or special elections or, for counties with optical

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scan systems, a prompt to hand such voters a special ballot.

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(25)  Operate so that individuals 17 years of age not

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registered and enrolled in a party are ineligible to vote in

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a primary election.

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* * *

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Section 2.  Sections 1301, 1325(b) and 1327 of Title 25 are

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amended to read:

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§ 1301.  Qualifications to register.

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(a)  Eligibility.--[An] Except as otherwise provided for

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under subsection (d), an individual who will be at least 18

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years of age on the day of the next election, who has been a

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citizen of the United States for at least one month prior to the

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next election and who has resided in this Commonwealth and the

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election district where the individual offers to vote for at

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least 30 days prior to the next ensuing election and has not

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been confined in a penal institution for a conviction of a

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felony within the last five years shall be eligible to register

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as provided in this chapter.

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(b)  Effect.--No individual shall be permitted to vote at any

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election unless the individual is registered under this

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subsection, except as provided by law or by order of a court of

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common pleas. No registered elector shall be required to

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register again for any election while the elector continues to

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reside at the same address.

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(c)  Removal of residence.--Except as otherwise provided by

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this part, a registered elector who removes residence from one

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place to another outside the elector's last election district

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shall not be entitled to vote in the election district of the

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elector's last residence except pursuant to the provisions of

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this section and sections 1501(b) (relating to removal notices),

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1502 (relating to transfer of registration) and 1902 (relating

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to procedure for voting following failure to return notification

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card).

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(d)  Eligibility for primaries.--An individual who meets the

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requirements of subsection (a) who will be at least 18 years of

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age on the day of the next general or municipal election may

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register and vote for the corresponding primary for the purpose

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of nominating candidates only, and not for voting on that

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portion of the ballot involving a special election or

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referendum, if any. No person shall be entitled to vote as a

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member of a party at any primary unless he is registered and

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enrolled as a member of such party upon the district register.

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This enrollment upon the district register shall be conclusive

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as to his party membership and shall not be subject to challenge

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on the day of the primary.

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§ 1325.  Government agencies.

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* * *

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(b)  Forms.--An agency designated in subsection (a) shall

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provide a form for office visits or, if the agency provides

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services to persons with disabilities, for home visits which

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contains all of the following:

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(1)  The question "If you are not registered to vote

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where you live now, would you like to apply to register to

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vote today?"

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(2)  If the agency provides public assistance, the

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statement "Applying to register or declining to register to

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vote will not affect the amount of assistance that you will

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be provided by this agency."

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(3)  Boxes for the applicant to check to indicate whether

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the applicant would like to register or decline to register

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to vote. In close proximity to the boxes the following words

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shall appear in prominent type: "IF YOU DO NOT CHECK EITHER

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BOX, YOU WILL BE CONSIDERED TO HAVE DECIDED NOT TO REGISTER

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TO VOTE AT THIS TIME."

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(4)  The statement "In order to be qualified to register

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to vote, you must be at least 18 years of age on the day of

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the next general, municipal or special election or at least

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17 years of age on the day of the next primary election, you

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must have been a citizen of the United States for at least

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one month prior to the next election and have resided in

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Pennsylvania and the election district where you plan to vote

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for at least 30 days prior to the next election, and you must

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not have been confined in a penal institution for a

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conviction of a felony within the last five years."

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(5)  The statement "If you would like help in filling out

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the voter registration application form, we will help you.

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The decision whether to seek help is yours. You may fill out

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the form in private."

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(6)  The statement "If you believe that someone has

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interfered with your right to register or to decline to

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register to vote, your right to privacy in deciding whether

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to register or in applying to register to vote or your right

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to choose your own political party or other political

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preference, you may file a complaint with the Secretary of

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the Commonwealth, Pennsylvania Department of State,

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Harrisburg, PA 17120." The secretary shall establish and

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publish a toll-free telephone number for the purpose of

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receiving complaints.

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* * *

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§ 1327.  Preparation and distribution of applications.

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(a)  Form.--

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(1)  The secretary shall prescribe the form of an

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official voter registration application. The official voter

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registration application shall provide space for the

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following information about the applicant:

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(i)  Full name.

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(ii)  Address of residence. If the residence is a

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portion only of the house, the location or number of the

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room, apartment or floor which is occupied.

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(iii)  Mailing address if different than address of

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residence.

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(iv)  Name and residence address on previous

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registration and the year of that registration.

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(v)  Designation of political party, for the purpose

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of voting at a primary election.

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(vi)  Date of birth.

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(vii)  Telephone number. An application shall not be

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rejected because of noncompliance with this subparagraph.

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(viii)  Race. An application shall not be rejected

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because of noncompliance with this subparagraph.

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(2)  Data required on the voter registration application

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shall not be more nor less than the minimum data elements

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permissible for Federal voter registration.

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(3)  Any person who assists in the completion of the

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registration application shall sign the application and

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indicate the person's address. In the case of those

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registering under sections 1323 (relating to application with

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driver's license application) and 1325 (relating to

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government agencies), the person providing assistance shall

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insert the person's initials or employee or agent

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identification number on a separate or detachable portion of

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the application or computer data file.

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(4)  A voter registration application shall be printed on

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stock of good quality and shall be of suitable uniform size.

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Nothing in this part shall prohibit the design and use of an

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electronic voter registration application which includes the

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applicant's digitized or electronic signature. The

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registration application shall contain the following

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information; however, the information may be provided on a

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separate form for voter registration made under section 1323

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or 1325:

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(i)  Notice that a registered elector does not need

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to reregister unless the registered elector has moved.

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(ii)  Instructions on how to fill out and submit the

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application and notification of when the application must

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be submitted to a voter registration office in order to

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be registered for the ensuing election.

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(iii)  Notice that the applicant must be a citizen of

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the United States for at least one month prior to the

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next election and a resident of this Commonwealth and the

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election district for at least 30 days and must be at

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least 18 years of age by the day of the next [ensuing] 

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general, municipal or special election or at least 17

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years of age on the day of the next primary election, and

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has not been confined in a penal institution for a

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conviction of a felony within the last five years. The

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notice required in this subparagraph shall be in print

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identical to the declaration under subsection (b).

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(iv)  Notice that political party enrollment is

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mandatory to vote in a primary election of a political

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party.

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(v)  Notice that the commission will mail by

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nonforwardable mail to the applicant a voter's

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identification card upon acceptance of the application

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and that the applicant should contact the commission if

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the identification card is not received within 14 days

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from the date the application is sent to the registration

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office.

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(vi)  Notice that registration is not complete until

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the application is processed and accepted by the

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commission.

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(vii)  A warning to the applicant that making a false

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registration or furnishing false information is perjury.

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The notice required in this subparagraph shall be in

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print identical to the declaration under subsection (b).

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(viii)  Instructions to Federal or State employees

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who wish to retain voting residence in county of last

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residence to so indicate on the application.

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(ix)  Notice that, if an individual declines to

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register to vote, the fact that the individual has

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declined to register will remain confidential and will be

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used only for voter registration purposes. The notice

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required in this subparagraph shall be in print identical

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to the declaration under subsection (b).

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(x)  Notice that, if an individual does register to

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vote, the office at which the individual submits a voter

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registration application will remain confidential and

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will be used for voter registration purposes only. The

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notices required in this subparagraph shall be in print

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identical to the declaration in subsection (b).

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(5)  In jurisdictions where there is a single language

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minority, the secretary may print a bilingual application.

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(6)  In jurisdictions where a single language minority

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exceeds 5% of the population, the secretary shall:

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(i)  print a bilingual application; and

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(ii)  conduct a public educational program among that

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language group alerting both organizations and

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individuals of that group of the availability of the

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bilingual application and encouraging individuals to

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register.

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(7)  To implement section 1324 (relating to application

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by mail), the secretary shall print an official voter

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registration mail application designed to preserve the

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confidentiality of the information required to be submitted.

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The application shall contain information required by this

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section and shall include the name of each county seat, its

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post office mailing address and zip code and its telephone

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number. Voter registration mail applications shall contain

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information indicating whether the application is a new

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registration, change of party enrollment, change of address

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or change of name.

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(8)  Nothing in this part shall prohibit a private

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organization or individual from printing blank voter

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registration applications or shall prohibit the use of such

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applications by any other individual, provided that the form,

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content and paper quality of such voter registration

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application complies with department regulations for the

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forms or has received prior approval from the secretary.

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(b)  Registration declaration.--

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(1)  The official voter registration application shall

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contain a registration declaration. On the declaration, the

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applicant shall state all of the following:

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(i)  The applicant has been a citizen of the United

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States for at least one month prior to the next election.

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(ii)  On the day of the next [ensuing] general,

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municipal or special election, the applicant shall be at

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least 18 years of age or on the day of the next primary

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election, the applicant shall be at least 17 years of

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age.

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(iii)  On the day of the next [ensuing] general,

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municipal or special, special or primary election, the

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applicant shall have resided in this Commonwealth and in

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the election district for at least 30 days.

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(iv)  The applicant has not been confined in a penal

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institution for a conviction of a felony within the last

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five years.

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(v)  The applicant is legally qualified to vote.

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(2)  The applicant shall affirm all of the following:

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(i)  The information provided in the registration

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declaration is true.

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(ii)  The applicant understands that:

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(A)  the registration declaration will be

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accepted for all purposes as the equivalent of an

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affidavit; and

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(B)  if the registration contains a material

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false statement, the applicant shall be subject to

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penalties for perjury.

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(3)  The registration declaration shall contain the

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printed name and signature of the applicant and the date of

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signing. An applicant unable to sign the voter registration

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application shall make a mark before a person of the

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applicant's choice other than the applicant's employer or an

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agent of the applicant's union. The person shall insert the

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person's name, address and telephone number. If the person is

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an employee or agent of the Department of Transportation or

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another agency as provided under section 1325 and is

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assisting the applicant in an official capacity, the employee

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or agent shall insert the initials and identification number

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of the employee or agent. In the case of applicants

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registering under section 1323 or 1325, the person providing

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assistance shall insert initials or employee or agent

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identification number on a separate or detachable portion of

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the application or computer data file.

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(4)  The official registration application shall contain

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a notice entitled "PENALTY FOR FALSIFYING DECLARATION." The

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notice shall advise the applicant that if a person signs an

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official registration application knowing a statement

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declared in the application to be false, the person commits

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perjury. The notice shall specify the penalty for perjury.

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(c)  Distribution.--

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(1)  The secretary shall supply official registration

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applications to commissions.

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(2)  The secretary shall make available for distribution

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official voter registration applications to public libraries,

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public schools, State-related institutions of higher

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education, offices operated by the Department of Revenue,

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offices operated by the Department of Aging, area agencies on

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aging, offices operated by the Pennsylvania Game Commission

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or any of its authorized license-issuing agents, offices

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operated by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission or any

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of its issuing agents, and offices that provide unemployment

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compensation.

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(3)  Each participating agency identified under paragraph

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(2) shall:

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(i)  Provide that official voter registration mail

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applications are available on the premises and displayed

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prominently in a conspicuous location during normal

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business hours.

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(ii)  Provide an official voter registration mail

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application to any individual requesting one.

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(iii)  Provide reasonable space for nonpartisan signs

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or posters indicating the availability of official voter

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registration mail applications on the premises.

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(4)  The secretary may provide technical assistance to

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commissions upon request and agencies designated under

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paragraph (2).

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(5)  The secretary shall print and distribute mail

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registration applications which are not postage paid and

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which shall not be specific to any county registration

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office. Along with the distribution of such applications, the

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secretary shall also include instructions to inform the

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applicant where the application is to be sent.

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(6)  The secretary and commissions shall supply

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applications to all of the following:

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(i)  Persons and organizations who request

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applications.

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(ii)  Federal, State and political subdivision

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offices.

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(iii)  Political parties and political bodies.

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(iv)  Candidates.

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(d)  Staff.--Agency employees assisting in the distribution

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of voter registration applications under subsection (c) shall

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conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the following

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principles:

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(1)  They shall not seek to influence an applicant's

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political preference or party registration or display

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political preference or party allegiance.

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(2)  They shall not make any statement to an applicant or

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take any action the purpose of or effect of which is to

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discourage the applicant from registering to vote.

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(3)  They shall not make any statement to an applicant or

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take any action the purpose of or effect of which is to lead

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the applicant to believe that a decision to register or not

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to register has any bearing on the availability of services

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or benefits.

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Agency employees who violate this subsection shall be removed

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from employment, provided that the agency at its discretion may

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impose a penalty of suspension without pay for at least 30 days,

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but not more than 120 days, if it finds that the violation does

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not warrant termination.

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Section 3.  Title 25 is amended by adding a section to read:

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§ 3303.  Nomination petitions.

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Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, a

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person who satisfies the requirements of section 1301(d)

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(relating to qualifications to register) shall be deemed a duly

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registered and enrolled member of a party who is a qualified

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elector of the State, or of the political district, for purposes

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of signing or circulating a nomination petition under the act of

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June 3, 1937 (P.L.1333, No.320), known as the Pennsylvania

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Election Code.

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Section 4.  The Secretary of the Commonwealth shall

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promulgate regulations to carry out this act, particularly the

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amendments of 25 Pa.C.S. § 1222. Publication of the final-form

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regulations under this section shall take place within 18 months

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of the effective date of this section.

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Section 2 5.  Repeals are as follows:

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(1)  The General Assembly declares that the repeal under

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paragraph (2) is necessary to effectuate the amendment of 25

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Pa.C.S. §§ 1301, 1325(b) and 1327.

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(2)  Sections 701, 702, 703 and 704 of the act of June 3,

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1937 (P.L.1333, No.320), known as the Pennsylvania Election

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Code, are repealed.

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Section 3 6.  This act shall take effect in 60 days.

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