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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 14, 2019 06:12 PM
From: Representative Christopher M. Rabb
To: All House members
Subject: Your Votes Count Omnibus Voting Bill
We can overhaul and modernize the way we vote to make it more accessible to Pennsylvania’s rural, suburban and urban voters.

My bill offers comprehensive reform that would make voting and registering to vote easier and more convenient while still maintaining the security of our elections.

Specifically, my legislation would amend Title 25 (Elections) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes to do the following:

Allow citizens to pre-register to vote at age 16 and receive a postcard from their county board of elections upon their 18th birthday with information about where and how to vote.

Automatically register qualified electors to vote when they interact with state agencies or apply for state employment, admission to a state-owned or state-related university or apply for state funding for college. Individuals would have an option to decline registration.

Allow prospective voters to register to vote on Election Day and cast a provisional ballot – subject to their registration’s approval – at their local polling location.

Enable portable voter registration when voters change residences within the Commonwealth. This would allow voters to go to their new polling location on Election Day, fill out a certificate updating their registration address and cast a ballot at one time.

Provide for no-excuse absentee voting and create the option for a permanent absentee voter status for those who are disabled or otherwise unable to travel to the polls.

Establish early voting 30 days before Election Day and ending at 6 p.m. on the Sunday before the election.

Require county prison officials and the Department of Corrections to automatically notify returning citizens’ home county election bureaus when they have been released from prison so that their voter registration, if registered, would be reactivated.

Require any changes to election or voting laws or procedures to be quickly and widely publicized to voters by the state, county or municipality. It would also require the establishment of voter education campaigns.

Finally, in jurisdictions where a single language minority exceeds 3 percent of the population, election officials must provide all voting and election materials – including notices of changes in law or procedures and voter education campaigns – in English and any minority languages.

Many of these voting and election reforms have been enacted widely in states across the nation. As of 2019, numerous states offer early voting, and in over two dozen states and the District of Columbia, voting by absentee ballot does not require a reason or excuse.

Another reform, automatic voter registration, has increasingly been enacted into state law and is now being considered by the majority of state legislatures nationwide.

If you believe in broadening and strengthening participatory democracy within our commonwealth, please co-sponsor this omnibus bill!

Introduced as HB1560