|Posted:||May 21, 2021 03:54 PM|
|From:||Senator Ryan P. Aument|
|To:||All Senate members|
|Subject:||Suspension of No-excuse Mail-in Ballots|
|Over the past five months, committees in both the Pennsylvania Senate and House of Representatives have received testimony regarding the Commonwealth’s election procedures and policies. It’s no secret that due to the changes enacted in Act 77, coupled with the impact of the pandemic, the legislature and state have heard many complaints from voters and election officials alike.
In addition to the necessary adjustments to the law that have been requested from various parties, Lancaster County had a nightmare experience with mail-in ballots during the most recent primary. First, more than 2,700 voters received incorrect instructions on how to return their mail-in ballot while voters in Mount Joy received the wrong ballots and return envelopes. Then, on election day, it was discovered that approximately 14,000 mail-in ballots had been printed with their pages out of order, making them unable to be read and tallied by the voting machines and necessitating a hand count.
The errors were traced to Michigan Election Resources, the vendor Lancaster County contracted with to print, package, and send out mail-in ballots. Previously, most absentee ballots were prepped for mail and sent out from the county elections office. However, the volume of these requests after Act 77 have required counties such as Lancaster to turn to outside vendors for assistance. Though this particular vendor has taken responsibility for the errors, these examples have only added to the confusion and distrust surrounding mail-in voting in my district.
To that end, I intend to introduce legislation that would suspend the use of no-excuse mail-in ballots until the Spring of 2023 or until elected leaders can come together to make the necessary adjustments to this law to address the various issues presented to the legislature as well as the most recent experience with a bad vendor in Lancaster County.
Parties on both sides of aisle have acknowledged issues stemming from the current statute that necessitate a change in the law. We must address these inadequacies if we are to restore confidence in the election system and the results they produce.