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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: August 9, 2018 01:47 PM
From: Senator Judith L. Schwank
To: All Senate members
Subject: Absentee ballot deadline
I will shortly introduce legislation extending the time for mailing in absentee ballots to Election Day.
Although there are variations both in process and in language across the country, the overwhelming majority of states set Election Day as the absentee ballot deadline, according to a chart prepared by Vote.org (www.vote.org/absentee-ballot-deadlines.) While a very small handful of states use the day before Election Day as the deadline for mailing, these states also typically extend the deadline for their receipt by election offices until several days after Election Day. Pennsylvania and Ohio are the only states that use the Friday before Election Day as the deadline.
The Philadelphia Inquirer recently reported (http://www2.philly.com/philly/news/politics/pennsylvania-absentee-ballot-voting-deadline-missed-uncounted-20180808.html) that thousands of votes go uncounted in statewide elections as a result of the pre-Election Day deadline in Pennsylvania. We all appreciate and constantly hold out the vote as the most precious and fundamental gift of our democratic structure. We should also appreciate that a Pennsylvania voter who makes the effort to obtain and return a ballot should not have that vote taken away because of an obsolete, manufactured deadline that very few voters elsewhere face.
I hope you will consider adding your support to this proposal.

Introduced as SB1256