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Pennsylvania State Senate
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Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: April 7, 2020 08:55 AM
From: Senator Wayne D. Fontana
To: All Senate members
Subject: Mail In Ballots
As this frightening pandemic affects every facet of our lives, more and more citizens are doing what they can to keep safe by staying at home, practicing social distancing and keeping in touch with others as remotely as possible.  To that end, we cannot be sure when this nightmare 

will end, or when we can return to living our normal lives. Some project it will be weeks. Others have argued that it may take months or longer. Many medical experts have even warned that a second wave of COVID-19 may target us when the weather cools this autumn. 


While casting one’s vote in the upcoming Pennsylvania primary or general elections is hardly at the top of anyone’s priority list right now, it’s still an important civic duty in which we all should engage. I was encouraged by the legislative package that was enacted last year to empower citizens to vote by mail.  If citizens are concerned about how dangerous it will be to venture out to the polls in June, they can completely avoid that risk by mail-in voting. The process is simple, easy, safe and accommodating. 


For these reasons I will be introducing legislation that would change Pennsylvania’s voting system so that all elections would be conduct entirely by mail.  Ballots would be mailed out before Election Day.  Voters would be given several days to determine who they would like to vote for and once the decision is made, mark their ballots, and place it into the mail.   


Over 20 years ago, Oregon became the first state to have an “all-mail elections” and now are joined by Colorado, Hawaii, Washington and Utah. With the recent pandemic, more and more states are looking at this option as well as the significant benefits like the financial savings on jurisdictions, reduction in need of poll workers, convenience for the voter and greater voter participation.   


While we don’t know when the current pandemic will end or be certain another catastrophic event will occur in the near future, enacting a statewide mail-in ballot election would remove one more time-consuming duty off our residences’ plates.  I hope you will join me in co sponsoring this safety-first bill.   

Introduced as SB1129