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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: November 4, 2019 11:33 AM
From: Senator Steven J. Santarsiero
To: All Senate members
Subject: Vote-By-Mail in Pennsylvania
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that would allow voters in all elections to cast their ballots by mail or in person.

Pennsylvanians should not be expected to take time off from work and stand in long lines to exercise their right to vote. Vote-by-mail is not only convenient for voters, as it allows them to take the time to study the issues and the candidates, it boosts voter turnout, especially in off-year elections. In fact, in 2018, voter turnout in full vote-by-mail states was 10-percent higher than in the rest of the nation. Being able to vote from home is also especially helpful to the elderly, persons with disabilities, and residents in rural or remote locations who may have to travel a long distance to a poll.

Currently, at least 21 states have provisions allowing certain elections to be conducted by mail. Under my legislation, every registered voter would receive a ballot by mail without the need to apply for one; however, voters would not be precluded from in-person voting on Election Day, should they choose to do so. Voters would also be able to change their vote on Election Day if they previously voted by mail.

We should adopt election reform policies that cut the administrative costs of our elections, increase voter turnout, and improve election integrity. Creating a true vote-by-mail system would achieve this by making the voting process more transparent, more accessible, and less prone to error.

Please join me in sponsoring this important legislation.