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PRINTER'S NO. 1487
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
HOUSE BILL
No.
1376
Session of
2021
INTRODUCED BY QUINN, HERRIN, FREEMAN, FRANKEL, D. WILLIAMS,
KULIK, KINSEY, SMITH, CONKLIN, HILL-EVANS, POLINCHOCK,
T. DAVIS, STURLA, NEILSON, HOHENSTEIN, ARMANINI, WEBSTER AND
INNAMORATO, MAY 10, 2021
REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON STATE GOVERNMENT, MAY 10, 2021
AN ACT
Amending Title 25 (Elections) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated
Statutes, in voting procedures, providing for assistance for
certain qualified electors.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Title 25 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated
Statutes is amended by adding a section to read:
ยง 3303. Assistance for certain qualified electors.
(a) Eligibility.--A qualified elector who has a physical,
emotional, intellectual or developmental disability may request
a ballot by an election official outside the polling place of
the qualified elector.
(b) Distance, marking and casting of vote.--A qualified
elector's vote under subsection (a) shall be cast within 150
feet of the entrance to the polling place. The qualified elector
shall mark the ballot in the election official's presence but in
a secret manner and, obscuring the vote, return the ballot to
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the officer. The election official shall immediately return to
the polling place and deposit the ballot in the ballot container
in accordance with the instructions of the county election
board.
(c) Voting machine alternative.--An election district that
has an electronic voting machine that is easily portable may use
the voting machine in lieu of a printed ballot for the qualified
elector requiring assistance under subsection (a). The
electronic voting machine may be used in lieu of a printed
ballot if:
(1) the voting machine remains in the plain view of two
election officials representing two political parties, or in
a primary election, two election officials representing the
party conducting the primary, provided that if the use of two
officials for this purpose would result in too few officials
remaining in the polling place to meet legal requirements,
the voting machine shall remain in plain view of one official
who shall be either the chief election official or the
assistant chief election official; and
(2) the qualified elector casts a ballot in a secret
manner unless the qualified elector requests assistance under
this section. After the qualified elector has completed
voting, the election official or officials shall immediately
return the voting machine to its assigned location inside the
polling place.
(d) Recorded information.--If a voting machine is used under
subsection (c), the following information must be recorded by
the election official:
(1) The machine number.
(2) The time that the machine was removed and the time
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that it was returned.
(3) The number on the machine's public counter before
the machine was removed and the number on the same counter
when it was returned.
(4) The name or names of the officer or officers who
accompanied the machine shall be recorded on the statement of
results.
(e) Assisted voting designation.--A qualified voter who
requires assistance to vote by reason of a physical, emotional,
intellectual or developmental disability or inability to read or
write may, on request, be assisted in voting. If the voter has a
vision impairment, the voter may designate an election official
or any other individual to assist in voting. If the voter is
unable to read or write or is disabled for any cause other than
vision impairment, the voter may designate an election official
or any other individual to assist the voter other than the
voter's employer or agent of that employer, or officer or agent
of the voter's union.
(f) Assisted voting procedure.--The election official or
other individual designated under subsection (e) may not enter
the voting booth with the voter unless:
(1) The voter signs a statement, on a form provided by
the county election board, stating that the voter requires
assistance by reason of a physical, emotional, intellectual
or developmental disability or inability to read or write. If
the voter is unable to sign the statement, the voter's own
mark acknowledged by the voter before an election official
shall be a sufficient signature, provided no mark shall be
required of a voter who is blind.
(2) The election official or other individual signs the
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statement under paragraph (1) that the official is not the
qualified elector's employer, an agent of that employer or an
officer or agent of the qualified elector's union, and the
official will act in accordance with the requirements of this
section.
(g) Advice and recording of name and address.--An election
official shall advise the qualified elector and individual
assisting the qualified elector of the requirements of this
section and record the name of the qualified elector and the
name and address of the individual assisting the qualified
elector.
(h) Instructions in casting vote.--The election official or
other individual designated shall assist the qualified elector
in the preparation of the qualified elector's ballot in
accordance with the instructions of the qualified elector and
without soliciting the qualified elector's vote or in any manner
attempting to influence the vote. The election official may not
divulge or indicate, by signs or otherwise, how the qualified
elector voted on any office or question. If a ballot is used,
the official or other individual designated shall deposit the
ballot in the ballot container or in the ballot scanner machine
in accordance with the instructions of the county election
board.
(i) Translator.--If the qualified elector requires
assistance in a language other than English and has not
designated an individual to assist the qualified elector, an
election official, before assisting as interpreter, shall
inquire of the representatives authorized to be present whether
a volunteer is available who can interpret for the qualified
elector. One representative interpreter for each party or
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candidate, insofar as available, shall be permitted to observe
the election official communicate with the qualified elector.
The qualified elector may designate one of the volunteer party
or candidate interpreters to provide assistance. An individual
designated by the qualified elector shall meet all the
requirements of this section for an individual providing
assistance.
(j) Penalties.--An individual who willfully violates
subsections (e), (f), (g), (h) or (i) commits a misdemeanor of
the first degree. The provisions of Chapter 17 (relating to
penalties) and Article XVIII of the act of June 3, 1937
(P.L.1333, No.320), known as the Pennsylvania Election Code,
shall be applicable to this section.
(k) Audio ballot voting.--In an election district where an
electronic voting machine is available that provides an audio
ballot, the election official shall notify a qualified elector
requiring assistance under this section that a machine is
available for the qualified elector to use in privacy. An
election official shall instruct the qualified elector on the
use of the voting machine. Nothing in this section may be
construed to require a qualified elector to use the machine
unassisted.
(l) Definitions.--The following words and phrases when used
in this section shall have the meanings given to them in this
subsection unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
"County election board." The board of elections of a county.
"Election district." A district, division or precinct
established under the Pennsylvania Election Code, in which all
qualified electors are eligible to vote in the same polling
place.
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"Election official." The election officers required to
conduct primaries and elections in an election district in
accordance with the provisions of this section. The term shall
include the judge of elections and the majority and minority
inspectors elected or appointed by a county election board and
the clerk or machine inspector appointed by a county election
board.
"Qualified elector." An individual who:
(1) possesses all of the qualifications for voting
prescribed by the Constitution of Pennsylvania and the laws
of this Commonwealth; or
(2) being otherwise qualified by continued residence in
the individual's election district, obtains qualifications
under paragraph (1) before the next ensuing election.
Section 2. All acts and parts of acts are repealed insofar
as they are inconsistent with this act.
Section 3. This act shall take effect in 60 days.
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