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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: December 16, 2022 02:22 PM
From: Representative Christopher M. Rabb
To: All House members
Subject: Modernizing the Special Election Process
In polling, more American voters self-identify as Independents than as Democrats or Republicans. 
These voters increasingly believe that the two-party system does not align with their values or political views. When four in ten Americans do not find themselves represented by their government, it is time to rethink the system that got us here. It is time to give voters more choices at the ballot box. 
Nowhere is this issue more prevalent than in special elections, as current law gives political parties sole authority to nominate candidates. This excludes nonpartisan candidates who may better reflect the interests of a district but are nevertheless shut out of the nomination process. 
My legislation seeks to change this by making special elections for state and municipal offices nonpartisan and more accessible to both candidates and voters. 
Under the bill, the Department of State would have oversight of the nonpartisan nomination process while political parties would continue to run their own nomination processes. 
My bill will also ensure that special elections are timely, less costly and accessible to all by:
  • Requiring that special elections happen sooner when a seat becomes vacant more than 90 days before the next election.

  • Requiring automatic mail-in voting for all elections while providing county boards of election the option to establish satellite voting sites. 

  • Subsidizing special elections from restitution paid by elected officials who have vacated their seats because of a felony conviction.

  • Allowing candidates to electronically obtain nomination petition signatures.
For too long, independent voters and nonpartisan candidates have been shut out of the special election and policy-making processes. 
Please join me in ensuring that our government reflects the will of all voters in Pennsylvania by signing on to this forthcoming legislation.

Introduced as HB1831