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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: May 9, 2022 09:29 PM
From: Representative Christopher M. Rabb and Rep. Donna Bullock, Rep. Jason Dawkins, Rep. Rick Krajewski
To: All House members
Subject: Providing Absentee Ballots and Voter Access for Incarcerated Individuals
The ability to vote for publicly elected officials is not a privilege, although, historically it has been treated as such. Voting is a civil right that represents the social freedom and equality we ought to continue to strive for. However, some incarcerated individuals in correctional institutions have been barred from this key tenet of our democracy. Furthermore, those who are eligible to vote are prevented from doing so as many county jails in Pennsylvania do not have a written policy regarding voting in jail, resulting in de facto disenfranchisement. This pervasive issue affects approximately 25,000 individuals incarcerated in county jails.   
For this reason, I will be introducing two bills:

Document #1

Introduced as HB2718

Description: The legislation would amend Title 25 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes to permit all incarcerated individuals in correctional institutions to be eligible to vote by absentee ballot.

Document #2

Introduced as HB2719

Description: The legislation would amend the Pennsylvania Election Code to permit all incarcerated individuals in correctional institutions to be eligible to vote by absentee ballot. Additionally, the legislation would require the Department of State to create a uniform policy for civic education in state and county correctional institutions, including voting guides and notifications of all elections. Moreover, the Department of State would be required to provide correctional institutions with information pertaining to voter registration, absentee ballots and eligibility requirements, as well as all necessary forms and training. A designated individual in each correctional institution would be required to provide the previously mentioned information to each incarcerated individual. The designated individual would oversee the distribution, collection and submission of voter registration applications and absentee ballots.  
Although incarceration entails a loss of many rights, voting is an integral right that should be preserved. It is my hope that you will join me in co-sponsoring this essential legislation.