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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 25, 2019 03:03 PM
From: Representative Dan L. Miller
To: All House members
Subject: Improving Voting Accessibility for Pennsylvanians with a Disability
Being able to vote independently and privately is a fundamental right for all Pennsylvanians 18 years and older. Unfortunately, for many people who are blind, deafblind, visually impaired, or who have impaired dexterity, our absentee ballot system and current voting machines are inherently inaccessible. The failure to provide voters with disabilities the opportunity to exercise their right to vote in a manner that is equal to the opportunity provided to other voters is a violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

With the passage of the 2018 Help America Vote Act, a number of states are taking steps to rectify this injustice by providing for an online mail-in ballot system that is adaptable and usable for citizens with a disability. Other states are providing technology in voting centers that opens access to the ballot and provides an opportunity for independent voting to people with disabilities in a manner that invites all of our citizens to share equally in our electoral process.

This bill will require the adoption of an online, vote-by-mail system that provides a software interface which is designed to assist people with visual, hearing, and dexterity impairments to vote privately and independently by 2020. Additionally, it requires that all of our voting centers have at least one device on site that allows for people with disabilities to cast their ballot independently alongside their friends and neighbors, rather than being isolated during one of our nation’s most intrinsic citizen experiences, in time for the primary election of 2022.

Please join me in helping to ensure that all Pennsylvanians, regardless of disability, have the ability to exercise their right to vote privately and independently.

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Introduced as HB524