|Posted:||July 14, 2020 10:02 AM|
|From:||Representative Eddie Day Pashinski|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Enhanced Penalties to Deter Voter Fraud in Pennsylvania Elections|
|There is nothing more sacred to our democracy than the right of each American citizen to vote for their representatives in government. Regardless of your political affiliation, we can all agree that free and fair elections are necessary for a representative democracy such as ours to function.
Perhaps just as important, is the confidence our citizens place in our voting systems that determine who will represent us. That is why it is imperative that we institute policies that secure each citizens’ right to vote – while safeguarding against fraud and those who wish to undermine our system of elections. Act 77 of 2019 was a step forward in making voting more accessible, expanding this convenient and safe option of no excuse mail-in voting to all Pennsylvanians.
No excuse mail-in voting may be new to most Pennsylvanians, but has been used by the U.S. Military since Republicans implemented it during the Civil War. Five states now primarily conduct their elections by mail – Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah, and Washington – while another 28 states allow anyone to do so if they choose. None of these states have reported major instances of voter fraud. According to the New York Times Editorial Board, Oregon has sent out more than 100 million mail-in ballots since 2000, and has documented only about a dozen cases of proven fraud. That’s 0.0000001%. Individuals and organizations, including many Democrats, the Republican National Committee and Lara Trump all agree: voting by mail is safe and secure.
The Brennan Center for Justice notes that states have several tools when it comes to addressing security concerns with mail-in voting, including harsh penalties for voter fraud. In Oregon, those convicted of fraud face up to five years in prison. In Pennsylvania, many of our penalties are less severe and haven’t been updated in decades.
That’s why I intend to introduce legislation doubling all penalties associated with voter fraud under Article XVIII in the Pennsylvania Election Code, bringing us more in line with other states in deterring fraud. By increasing the maximum possible consequence, we will send a strong message to Pennsylvanians that while voter fraud may be rare, it’s consequences will be severe.
Please join me in co-sponsoring this important and timely piece of legislation to instill faith in our elections and deter fraud and abuse of our system.
Introduced as HB2757