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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: April 9, 2019 10:03 AM
From: Representative Tina M. Davis
To: All House members
Subject: Absentee Ballot Signature Verification
Our signatures are central to our identities, yet they change throughout the course of our lives for many reasons. Age, disability, and illness often can have a significant effect on our handwriting and the way we sign our names.

The variations in our signatures are rarely scrutinized in our day-to-day lives but when performing our most important civic duty – voting – the smallest change may result in our vote being rejected. People who vote absentee are at the greatest disadvantage because they often do not know that their ballot was discarded on account of a mismatched signature.

In an effort to preserve the voting rights of Pennsylvania’s absentee ballot voters, I am proposing a change in ballot procedures which will notify absentee voters of a perceived signature mismatch and provide them with the opportunity to verify their signature. To ensure that county boards of elections and absentee voters have sufficient time for this process, my legislation will also extend the amount of time that county boards have to submit election returns to the Pennsylvania Department of State.

Oftentimes, it is voters who are already marginalized, such as people living with disabilities, that are affected most by perceived ballot signature mismatches. All qualified voters deserve to have their vote counted. Please join me in supporting this legislation to ensure that no absentee voter is excluded from the democratic process on account of their handwriting.

Introduced as HB1420