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07/28/2021 09:39 AM
Pennsylvania State Senate
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=S&SPick=20210&cosponId=35539
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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: April 30, 2021 11:48 AM
From: Senator Doug Mastriano and Sen. Patrick J. Stefano
To: All Senate members
Subject: Statewide Ballot Measure: Repeal of Act 77 Provisions
 
We will introduce legislation to add questions on a future statewide ballot referendum to repeal Act 77. It is our view that the people of Pennsylvania should have the final say in how Pennsylvania conducts future elections.

Act 77, in its original form, was the comprehensive voting package passed by the General Assembly in 2019.  At the time, the bill passed with unanimous Republican support.

However; using the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretense, the Wolf Administration, together with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, threw Act 77 into disarray.

Simply stated, Pennsylvania state Supreme Court unconstitutionally rewrote the original intent of key provisions of Act 77.

Existing law was clear and specific:
  • All mail-in ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day; 
  • Officials at polling locations must authenticate the signatures of voters;
  • County Boards of Elections are able to conduct pre-canvassing of absentee and mail-in ballots after 8 a.m. on Election Day;
  • Defective absentee and mail-in ballots shall not be counted; and
  • “Watchers” selected by candidates and political parties are permitted to observe the process of canvassing absentee and mail-in ballots.
 
The state Supreme Court unilaterally – and in direct contravention of the wording of Act 77 – extended the deadline for mailed ballots to be received from Election Day, to three days after the Election Day.

Similarly, the court declared that ballots mailed without a postmark should be presumed to have been received timed.

The court also mandated that mail-in ballots lacking a verified signature be accepted.

Additionally, the State Department encouraged certain counties to notify party and candidate representatives of mail-in voters whose ballots contained disqualifying defects; thereby enabling voters to cure said defects.

Millions of voters around our state have expressed skepticism about the security of our elections going forward. Some have asked: “Why should I even vote if my vote will be canceled out by another that is not legal?"

Significant doubt in the validity of a one’s vote has serious repercussions for our democracy.

As the governor will certainly veto any legislation to correct the damages done to our voting laws, the best course of action is to introduce several referendum questions to repeal Act 77.

Adding questions on a statewide ballot referendum for voters to decide on would allow the people of Pennsylvania to repeal provisions of Act 77 to include

  • “No excuse” mail-in voting;
  • The existence and maintenance of a permanent absentee and mail-in ballot list;
  • Absentee ballots allowed to be received late or after election day
I am respectfully asking you to join us in cosponsoring this important legislation.