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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: May 28, 2019 03:11 PM
From: Senator Daylin Leach
To: All Senate members
Subject: Transitioning PA to a Vote-by-Mail System
Soon I will introduce legislation to directly address the impediments that exist to free, fair, and accurate elections. My legislation is inspired by election protocols in Oregon, Colorado and Washington, which conduct their elections by mail. Specifically, my legislation would:
  • Automatically register eligible voters when they interact with PennDOT, unless they decline to be registered.
  • Replace in-person voting with mail-in voting by mailing every registered voter a postage-paid ballot before every primary and general election. Completed ballots could be mailed or dropped off at the local county clerk's office or in designated drop-boxes around the state.
  • Require the verification of voters’ signatures on their ballots.
  • Provide for criminal penalties for violations of the new election protocol.
Elections by mail-in voting are more convenient, fiscally responsible, and secure than in-person voting. Voters would no longer be forced to take time off of work or face long lines, which would result in increased voter participation. For example, in the 2014 general election, young people in Oregon voted at a rate of 45.6%, versus 19.7% in the Pennsylvania.

Furthermore, the Commonwealth would save millions of dollars by eliminating the cost of establishing polling places, paying staff, and maintaining voting machines. A 2016 study of Colorado from the Pew Charitable Trusts found that mail-in balloting caused costs to decrease an average of 40% in five election administration categories across 46 of Colorado’s 64 counties (those with available cost data).

Finally, mail-in voting protocols enable us to avoid the problems posed by hacked voting machines, machine malfunctions on election day, and hanging chads.

This approach to elections will solve many of our current system’s problems while increasing turnout and saving taxpayers money.

Please join me in supporting this important legislation. If you have questions about this legislation, please don’t hesitate to contact me.