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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: December 2, 2020 02:24 PM
From: Senator Patrick J. Stefano
To: All Senate members
Subject: Mail-In Ballot Safeguards
In the near future, I intend to introduce legislation ensuring clarity and security for mail-in and absentee ballots to restore voter confidence in our election process.
This legislation will repeal the portion of Act 77 of 2019 which established the annual mail-in voter list, which is commonly referred to as having permanent mail-in ballot status.  Additionally, this legislation will stipulate that only the Pennsylvania Department of State may send applications for mail in ballots to eligible voters in our Commonwealth.
The 2020 election cycle was fraught with public confusion and misinformation, much of which was centered around mail-in ballots.  In fact, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that one out of every five mail-in ballot applications were rejected.  This totaled about 372,000 ballot applications being rejected, the vast majority of which were rejected for being duplicates. 
Multiple reasons explain why there were there were so many duplicates.  While voting in the primary, voters were given the choice to choose to vote by mail during the general election.  Mail-in ballot applications were being sent to Pennsylvania residents by political parties and get-out-the-vote groups.  Further, there were reports of computer glitches being responsible for sending two ballots to voters who submitted a mail-in ballot application. 
By guaranteeing that eligible voters must apply for a mail-in ballot for each election, and that only the Department of State may distribute the applications to apply for mail-in ballots, we can address much of the confusion and frustration that surrounded our most recent election cycle.
I sincerely hope that you will join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation to restore voter confidence in the integrity of our election process.  If you have any questions or concerns regarding this information, please contact Jake Gery in my office at jgery@pasen.gov.

Introduced as SB515