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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: June 23, 2020 12:12 PM
From: Senator Anthony H. Williams
To: All Senate members
Subject: CARES Funding for Election Security
In the near future, I will be introducing legislation to appropriate $50,000,000 from the COVID-19 Response Restricted Account to the Department of State of Election Security.

The June 2, 2020 Primary Election was held among a confluence of unprecedented turmoil: In addition to difficulties related to operating in-person elections due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the first test of Pennsylvania’s new vote-by-mail system, the social unrest over the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others hampered elections office operations in many counties. As citizens have donned masks to protect themselves from the virus and taken to the streets to protest for racial equity, the importance of guaranteeing the right to vote to all has never been more clear.
I have heard from my counties the need for more funding to deal with the realities of conducting the November election amid this ongoing pandemic.  COVID-19 has driven more and more voters to mail-in or absentee ballots.  Unfortunately, social distancing and legislative limitations make it harder and harder for counties to complete an accurate count of mail-in and absentee ballots within a timely manner. Without this funding, we risk disenfranchisement of Pennsylvania voters and delayed election results which could sow the seeds of doubt as to their accuracy
In order to help counties with their needs during the coronavirus, my legislation would appropriate $50 million to the Department of State to assist counties with costs incurred as a result of the necessary COVID-19 safety precautions.
Please join me in sponsoring this legislation.