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A02145
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
48
Session of
2019
INTRODUCED BY GORDNER, FOLMER, LANGERHOLC, MARTIN, HUTCHINSON,
DiSANTO, YAW, BARTOLOTTA, K. WARD, WHITE, STEFANO AND
J. WARD, JANUARY 11, 2019
SENATOR FOLMER, STATE GOVERNMENT, AS AMENDED, APRIL 9, 2019
AN ACT
Amending Title 25 (Elections) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated
Statutes, in conduct of elections, providing for voting
systems.
Amending the act of June 3, 1937 (P.L.1333, No.320), entitled
"An act concerning elections, including general, municipal,
special and primary elections, the nomination of candidates,
primary and election expenses and election contests; creating
and defining membership of county boards of elections;
imposing duties upon the Secretary of the Commonwealth,
courts, county boards of elections, county commissioners;
imposing penalties for violation of the act, and codifying,
revising and consolidating the laws relating thereto; and
repealing certain acts and parts of acts relating to
elections," in ballots, further providing for form of
official election ballot and for number of ballots to be
printed and specimen ballots; in voting machines, further
providing for requirements of voting machines and for form of
ballot labels on voting machines; in electronic voting
systems, further providing for requirements of electronic
voting systems, for forms and for election day procedures and
the process of voting; providing for voting systems
decertification; in preparation for and conduct of primaries
and elections, further providing for instructions of voters
and manner of voting in districts in which voting machines
are used, for count and return of votes in districts in which
ballots are used and for what ballots shall be counted,
manner of counting and defective ballots; and, in voting by
qualified absentee electors, further providing for date of
application for absentee ballot, for approval of application
for absentee ballot, for voting by absentee electors and for
canvassing of official absentee ballots.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
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hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Part IX of Title 25 of the Pennsylvania
Consolidated Statutes is amended by adding a chapter to read:
CHAPTER 31
VOTING SYSTEMS
Subchapter
A. Preliminary Provisions
B. Voting Machines (Reserved)
C. Electronic Voting Systems (Reserved)
SUBCHAPTER A
PRELIMINARY PROVISIONS
Sec.
3101. Definitions.
3102. Decertification.
§ 3101. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this chapter
shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Election Code." The act of June 3, 1937 (P.L.1333, No.320),
known as the Pennsylvania Election Code.
"Electronic voting system." As defined in section 1101-A of
the Election Code.
"Voting apparatus." A kind or type of any of the following:
(1) An electronic voting system.
(2) A voting machine.
"Voting machine." A voting machine as described under
Article XI of the Election Code.
§ 3102. Decertification.
(a) Prohibition.--The Commonwealth may not disapprove of or
decertify voting apparatuses in 50% or more counties until the
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requirements of this subchapter have been met.
(b) Plan.--If the Commonwealth intends to disapprove or
decertify voting apparatuses in 50% or more counties, the
Department of State must submit a written plan to the President
Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of
Representatives at least 180 days prior to the effective date of
replacement, containing each of the following:
(1) The reason for disapproval or decertification.
(2) The estimated cost to replace the disapproved or
decertified voting apparatuses and the plan for how funding
is anticipated to be obtained.
(3) A plan for replacing the disapproved or decertified
voting apparatuses.
(4) The effective date of replacement.
(c) Voting System Decertification Commission.--
(1) Within 10 days of receipt of the written plan under
subsection (b) by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and
the Speaker of the House of Representatives, a commission
shall be established. The commission shall, within 90 days of
establishment, do all of the following:
(i) Review the written plan.
(ii) Hold at least two public hearings on the
matter, including the plan submitted under subsection
(b).
(iii) Issue a written report consistent with
subparagraph (iv) to each of the following:
(A) The President Pro Tempore of the Senate.
(B) The Majority Leader of the Senate
(C) The Minority Leader of the Senate.
(D) The Speaker of the House of Representatives.
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(E) The Majority Leader of the House of
Representatives.
(F) The Minority Leader of the House of
Representatives.
(G) The majority and minority chair of the State
Government Committee of the Senate and the majority
and minority chair of the State Government Committee
of the House of Representatives.
(iv) The written report shall include all of the
following:
(A) An estimated cost for the written plan and
estimated costs for the implementation of other
voting apparatuses and how the costs will be divided.
(B) Written justification for disapproval or
decertification.
(C) EACH DISSENTING OPINION OF A MEMBER OF THE
COMMISSION.
(C) (D) Recommended legislative action, if
necessary, including draft legislation.
(2) The commission shall be composed of the following
members:
(i) Two members appointed by the Governor, one of
whom shall be a county commissioner AND ONE OF WHOM SHALL
BE A COUNTY ELECTION OFFICER at the time of appointment.
(ii) The Secretary of State THE COMMONWEALTH OR A
DESIGNEE .
(iii) A member appointed by the President Pro
Tempore of the Senate.
(iv) A member appointed by the Minority Leader of
the Senate.
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(v) A member appointed by the Speaker of the House
of Representatives.
(vi) A member appointed by the Minority Leader of
the House of Representatives.
(III) THE CHAIR AND MINORITY CHAIR OF THE STATE
GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE OF THE SENATE AND THE CHAIR AND
MINORITY CHAIR OF THE STATE GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE OF THE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OR THEIR DESIGNEES.
(IV) ONE LEGISLATOR FROM EACH OF THE FOUR
LEGISLATIVE CAUCUSES, TO BE APPOINTED BY THE PRESIDENT
PRO TEMPORE OF THE SENATE AND THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES, IN CONSULTATION WITH THE MAJORITY LEADER
AND MINORITY LEADER OF THE SENATE AND THE MAJORITY LEADER
AND MINORITY LEADER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OR
THEIR DESIGNEES.
(3) THE COMMISSION SHALL APPOINT A MEMBER TO SERVE AS
CHAIR OF THE COMMISSION.
(4) THE COMMISSION SHALL HOLD MEETINGS AT THE CALL OF
THE CHAIR.
(5) THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY SHALL PROVIDE ADMINISTRATIVE
SUPPORT, MEETING SPACE AND ANY OTHER ASSISTANCE REQUIRED BY
THE COMMISSION TO CARRY OUT ITS DUTIES UNDER THIS SECTION IN
COOPERATION WITH THE DEPARTMENT.
(6) A MEMBER MAY NOT RECEIVE COMPENSATION FOR THE
MEMBER'S SERVICES, BUT SHALL BE REIMBURSED FOR NECESSARY
TRAVEL AND OTHER REASONABLE EXPENSES INCURRED IN CONNECTION
WITH THE PERFORMANCE OF THE MEMBER'S DUTIES AS MEMBERS OF THE
COMMISSION.
SUBCHAPTER B
VOTING MACHINES
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(Reserved)
SUBCHAPTER C
ELECTRONIC VOTING SYSTEMS
(Reserved)
Section 2. This act shall take effect immediately.
Section 1. Sections 1003(a), 1007, 1107(b), 1110(h), 1107-
A(3), 1109-A(a)(2) and (d) and 1112-A(a)(2) and (4) of the act
of June 3, 1937 (P.L.1333, No.320), known as the Pennsylvania
Election Code, are amended to read:
Section 1003. Form of Official Election Ballot.--
(a) The official ballots for general, municipal and special
elections shall be in substantially the following form:
OFFICIAL BALLOT
....................... District, ........................ Ward,
City of ........................, County of ...................,
State of Pennsylvania ..........................................
Election held on the .......... day of ................, [19]
20.....
A cross (X) or check ( ) mark in the square opposite the name of
any candidate indicates a vote for that candidate.
[To vote a straight party ticket, mark a cross (X) or check
( ) in the square, in the Party Column, opposite the name of the
party of your choice. To vote for an individual candidate of
another party after making a mark in the party square, mark a
cross (X) or check ( ) opposite his name. For an office where
more than one candidate is to be voted for, the voter, after
marking in the party square, may divide his vote by marking a
cross (X) or check ( ) to the right of each candidate for whom
he or she desires to vote. For such office votes shall not be
counted for candidates not individually marked.]
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To vote for a person whose name is not on the ballot, write,
print or paste his name in the blank space provided for that
purpose. A cross (X) or check ( ) mark in the square opposite
the names of the candidates of any party for President and Vice-
President of the United States indicates a vote for all the
candidates of that party for presidential elector. To vote for
individual candidates for presidential elector, write, print or
paste their names in the blank spaces provided for that purpose
under the title "Presidential Electors." Mark ballot only in
black lead pencil, indelible pencil or blue, black or blue-black
ink, in fountain pen or ball point pen; use the same pencil or
pen for all markings you place on the ballot.
Before leaving the voting compartment, fold this ballot,
without displaying the markings thereon, in the same way it was
folded when received, then leave the compartment and exhibit the
ballot to one of the election officers who shall ascertain by an
inspection of the number appearing upon the right hand corner of
the back of the ballot whether the ballot so exhibited to him is
the same ballot which the elector received before entering the
voting compartment. If it is the same, the election officer
shall direct the elector, without unfolding the ballot, to
remove the perforated corner containing the number, and the
elector shall immediately deposit the ballot in the ballot box.
Any ballot deposited in a ballot box at any primary or election
without having the said number torn off shall be void and shall
not be counted.
[Party Column Presidential Electors
To Vote a Straight Party Ticket
Mark a Cross (X) or Check ( ) in
this Column.
(Vote for the candidates of
one party for President and
Vice-President, or insert the
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names of candidates.)
Democratic
For
John Stiles
and
Richard Doe,
Democratic ...................
Republican
For
John Doe
and
Richard Roe,
Republican ...................
Socialist
For
John Smith
and
William Jones,
Socialist ....................
Citizens]
Presidential Electors.
(Vote for the candidates of one party for President and Vice
President, or insert the names of candidates)
For
John Stiles and Richard Doe......................... Democratic
For
John Doe and Richard Roe............................ Republican
For
John Smith and William Jones......................... Socialist
For
........................ Citizens
United States Senator.
(Vote for one)
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Richard Roe ......................................... Democratic
John Doe ............................................ Republican
Richard Stiles ....................................... Socialist
Governor.
(Vote for one)
Richard Roe ......................................... Democratic
John Doe ............................................ Republican
Richard Stiles ....................................... Socialist
Representatives in Congress,
....... District.
(Vote for one)
Richard Roe ......................................... Democratic
John Doe ............................................ Republican
Richard Stiles ....................................... Socialist
Senator in the General Assembly,
....... District.
(Vote for one)
John Doe ............................................ Democratic
Richard Roe ......................................... Republican
* * *
Section 1007. Number of Ballots to Be Printed; Specimen
Ballots.--The county board of each county shall provide for each
election district in which a paper ballot is used in a primary
[is] or election to be held, [one book of fifty official ballots
of each party for every forty-five registered and enrolled
electors of such party and fraction thereof, appearing upon the
district register,] a supply of official ballots equal to ten
per centum more than the greatest number of ballots cast in
the prior three comparable elections in the election district
and shall provide for each election district in which an
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election is to be held one book of fifty official ballots for
every forty-five registered electors and fraction thereof
appearing upon the district register. They shall also, in
addition to the number of ballots required to be printed for
general distribution, maintain a sufficient supply of such
ballots at the office of the county board for the use of
absentee electors and for the use of any district, the ballots
for which may be lost, destroyed or stolen. They shall also
cause to be printed on tinted paper, and without the facsimile
endorsements, permanent binding or stubs, copies of the form of
ballots provided for each polling place at each primary or
election therein, which shall be called specimen ballots, and
which shall be of the same size and form as the official
ballots, and at each election they shall deliver to the election
officers, in addition to the official ballots to be used at such
election, a suitable supply of specimen ballots for the use of
the electors. At each primary, a suitable supply of specimen
ballots of each party shall be furnished.
Section 1107. Requirements of Voting Machines.--No voting
machine shall, upon any examination or reexamination, be
approved by the Secretary of the Commonwealth, or by any
examiner appointed by him, unless it shall, at the time, satisfy
the following requirements:
* * *
[(b) It shall permit each voter, at other than primary
elections, to vote a straight political party ticket in one
operation, and, in one operation, to vote for all the candidates
of one political party for presidential electors, and, in one
operation, to vote for all the candidates of one political party
for every office to be voted for, except those offices as to
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which he votes for individual candidates.]
* * *
Section 1110. Form of Ballot Labels on Voting Machines.--
* * *
(h) The names of all candidates of a political party shall
appear in the same row or column, and except in cases of names
of presidential commitments of nominees for delegate or
alternate delegate to political party National conventions no
other names shall appear in the same row or column[, to the left
or top of which shall be a straight party lever, by means of
which an elector may, in one operation, vote for all the
candidates of that political party for every office to be voted
for]. Where the names of the delegate or alternate delegate and
the presidential candidate he is supporting shall both appear,
the print size of the name of the delegate or alternate delegate
shall be equal to the size of the name of the particular
presidential candidate to whom he is committed, or in the case
where he is uncommitted, the word "uncommitted" shall appear in
the same size print. The names of such candidates shall be
arranged under or opposite the title of the office for which
they are candidates, and shall appear in the order of the votes
obtained by the candidate for Governor of the party nominated at
the last gubernatorial election, beginning with the party
obtaining the highest number of votes: Provided, however, That
in the case of parties or bodies not represented on the ballot
at the last gubernatorial election, the names of the candidates
of such parties shall be arranged alphabetically, according to
the party or body name. The names of all candidates of a
political body shall appear in the same row or column, and, if
the number of parties and bodies permits, each political body
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shall be entitled exclusively to a separate row or column[, with
a straight party lever]. If, however, the number of political
parties and political bodies renders it impossible or
impracticable to so arrange the political bodies, in such case
said bodies shall not be entitled to a separate row or column
[and a straight party lever], but shall be listed by political
appellations on the first left hand or top row, with the
designating letter and number of the ballot label where their
candidates may be found, together with the political
appellations of other political bodies, whose candidates may be
interspersed on the same row or column. Subject to the aforesaid
limitations, the form and arrangement of ballot labels, as to
the placing thereon of political bodies, shall be within the
discretion of the county board.
* * *
Section 1107-A. Requirements of Electronic Voting Systems.--
No electronic voting system shall, upon any examination or
reexamination, be approved by the Secretary of the Commonwealth,
or by any examiner appointed by him, unless it shall be
established that such system, at the time of such examination or
reexamination:
* * *
[(3) Permits each voter, at other than primary elections, to
vote a straight political party ticket by one mark or act and,
by one mark or act, to vote for all the candidates of one
political party for presidential electors and, by one mark or
act, to vote for all the candidates of one political party for
every office to be voted for, and every such mark or act shall
be equivalent to and shall be counted as a vote for every
candidate of the political party so marked including its
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candidates for presidential electors, except with respect to
those offices as to which the voter has registered a vote for
individual candidates of the same or another political party or
political body, in which case the automatic tabulating equipment
shall credit the vote for that office only for the candidate
individually so selected, notwithstanding the fact that the
voter may not have individually voted for the full number of
candidates for that office for which he was entitled to vote.]
* * *
Section 1109-A. Forms.--(a) * * *
(2) The pages placed on the voting device shall be of
sufficient number to include, following the listing of
particular candidates, the names of candidates for any
nonpartisan offices and any measures for which a voter may be
qualified to vote on a given election day, provided further that
for municipal, general or special elections, the first ballot
page shall list in the order that such political parties are
entitled to priority on the ballot, the names of such political
parties [with designating arrows so as to indicate the voting
square or position on the ballot card where the voter may insert
by one mark or punch the straight party ticket of his choice].
* * *
[(d) In partisan elections the ballot cards shall include a
voting square or position whereby the voter may by one punch or
mark record a straight party ticket vote for all the candidates
of one party or may vote a split ticket for the candidates of
his choice.]
* * *
Section 1112-A. Election Day Procedures and the Process of
Voting.--(a) In an election district which uses an electronic
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voting system in which votes are registered electronically, the
following procedures will be applicable for the conduct of the
election at the election district:
* * *
(2) At [primary] all elections, the voter shall be able to
vote for each candidate individually by the means provided. [At
all other elections, he may vote for each candidate
individually, or he may vote a straight political party ticket
in one operation by operating the straight political party
mechanism of the political party or political body of his
choice. He may also, after having operated the straight party
mechanism and before recording his vote, cancel the vote for any
candidate of such political party or political body and may
thereupon vote for a candidate of another party, or political
body for the same office.] The voter may also vote individually
for or against a question submitted to the vote of the electors.
* * *
(4) At any general election at which presidential electors
are to be chosen, each elector shall be permitted to vote by one
operation for all the presidential electors of a political party
or political body. For each party or body nominating
presidential electors, a ballot label shall be provided
containing only the words "Presidential Electors," preceded by
the names of the party or body and followed by the names of the
candidates thereof for the Office of President and Vice-
President, and the corresponding counter or registering device
shall register votes cast for said electors when thus voted for
collectively. If any elector desires to vote a ticket for
presidential electors made up of the names of persons nominated
by different parties or bodies, or partially of names of persons
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so in nomination and partially of names of persons not in
nomination by any party or body, he may write or deposit a paper
ballot prepared by himself in the receptacle provided in or on
the voting device for that purpose, or he may list their names
on the write-in ballot or envelope provided for that purpose.
The voting device shall be so constructed that it will not be
possible for any one voter to vote a straight party ticket for
presidential electors and at the same time to deposit a ballot
for presidential electors in a receptacle as [hereinabove]
provided in this section. When the votes for presidential
electors are counted, the votes appearing upon the counter or
registering device corresponding to the ballot label containing
the names of the candidates for President and Vice-President of
any party or body shall be counted as votes for each of the
candidates for presidential elector of such party or body, and
thereupon all candidates for presidential elector shall be
credited, in addition, with the votes cast for them upon the
ballots deposited in the machine, as [hereinabove] provided in
this section.
* * *
Section 2. The act is amended by adding an article to read:
ARTICLE XI-B
VOTING SYSTEMS DECERTIFICATION
Section 1101-B. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this article
shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Department." The Department of State of the Commonwealth.
"Electronic voting system." As defined in section 1101-A.
"Voting apparatus." A kind or type of any of the following:
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(1) An electronic voting system.
(2) A voting machine.
"Voting machine." A voting machine as described under
Article XI.
Section 1102-B. Decertification.
(a) Prohibition.--The Commonwealth may not disapprove of or
decertify voting apparatuses in 50% or more counties until the
requirements of this article have been met.
(b) Plan.--If the Commonwealth intends to disapprove or
decertify voting apparatuses in 50% or more counties, the
department must submit a written plan to the President pro
tempore of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of
Representatives, the Appropriations Committee of the Senate, the
Appropriations Committee of the House of Representatives, the
State Government Committee of the Senate and the State
Government Committee of the House of Representatives at least
180 days prior to the effective date of replacement, containing
each of the following:
(1) The reason for disapproval or decertification.
(2) The estimated cost to replace the disapproved or
decertified voting apparatuses and the plan for how funding
is anticipated to be obtained.
(3) A plan for replacing the disapproved or decertified
voting apparatuses.
(4) The effective date of replacement.
Section 3. Sections 1216(d) and (f), 1222(a) and (b),
1223(a), 1302.1 and 1302.2 of the act are amended to read:
Section 1216. Instructions of Voters and Manner of Voting in
Districts in Which Voting Machines are Used.--
* * *
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(d) At [primaries] all elections, he shall vote for each
candidate individually by operating the key, handle, pointer or
knob, upon or adjacent to which the name of such candidate is
placed. [At elections, he may vote for each candidate
individually by operating the key, handle, pointer or knob, upon
or adjacent to which the names of candidates of his choice are
placed, or he may vote a straight political party ticket in one
operation by operating the straight political party lever of the
political party or political body of his choice, if such machine
has thereon a separate lever for all the candidates of the
political body. He may also, after having operated the straight
party lever, and before recording his vote, cancel the vote for
any candidate of such political party or political body by
replacing the individual key, handle, pointer or knob of such
candidate, and may thereupon vote for a candidate of another
party, or political body for the same office by operating the
key, handle, pointer or knob, upon or adjacent to which the name
of such candidate appears.] In the case of a question submitted
to the vote of the electors, the elector shall operate the key,
handle, pointer or knob corresponding to the answer which he
desires to give.
* * *
(f) At any general election at which presidential electors
are to be chosen, each elector shall be permitted to vote by one
operation for all the presidential electors of a political party
or political body. For each party or body nominating
presidential electors, a ballot label shall be provided
containing only the words "Presidential Electors," preceded by
the names of the party or body and followed by the names of the
candidates thereof for the office of President and Vice-
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President, and the corresponding counter or registering device
shall register votes cast for said electors when thus voted for
collectively. If an elector desires to vote a ticket for
presidential electors made up of the names of persons nominated
by different parties or bodies, or partially of names of persons
so in nomination and partially of names of persons not in
nomination by any party or body, or wholly of names of persons
not in nomination by any party or body, he may write or deposit
a paper ballot prepared by himself in the receptacle provided in
or on the machine for the purpose. The machine shall be so
constructed that it will not be possible for any one voter to
vote a straight party ticket for presidential electors and at
the same time to deposit a ballot for presidential electors in a
receptacle as [hereinabove] provided in this section. When the
votes for presidential electors are counted, the votes appearing
upon the counter or registering device corresponding to the
ballot label containing the names of the candidates for
President and Vice-President of any party or body shall be
counted as votes for each of the candidates for presidential
elector of such party or body, and thereupon all candidates for
presidential elector shall be credited, in addition, with the
votes cast for them upon the ballots deposited in the machine,
as [hereinabove] provided in this section.
* * *
Section 1222. Count and Return of Votes in Districts in
Which Ballots are Used.--
(a) As soon as all the ballots have been properly accounted
for, and those outside the ballot box, as well as the "Voting
Check List," numbered lists of voters and district register
sealed, the election officers shall forthwith open the ballot
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box, and take therefrom all ballots therein, and at primaries,
separate the same according to the party to which they belong.
The ballots shall then be counted one by one, and a record made
of the total number, and at primaries of the total number cast
for each party. Then the judge, under the scrutiny of the
minority inspector, or the minority inspector, under the
scrutiny of the judge, in the presence of the other officers,
clerks, and of the overseers, if any, and within the hearing and
sight of the watchers outside the enclosed space, shall read
aloud the names of the candidates marked or inserted upon each
ballot (at primaries the ballots of each party being read in
sequence), together with the office for which the person named
is a candidate, and the answers contained on the ballots to the
questions submitted, if any, and the majority inspector and
clerks shall carefully enter each vote as read, and keep account
of the same in ink in triplicate tally papers (triplicate tally
papers for each party at primaries) to be provided by the county
board of elections for that purpose, all three of which shall be
made at the same time.[: Provided, That at all general,
municipal and special elections, in entering each vote received
by candidates at such election, it shall not be necessary to
enter separate tally marks for each vote received by such
candidates upon the ballots containing the same votes for the
same names, commonly known, and in this act designated as
"Straight Party Tickets" for such purpose straight party ticket
votes shall be entered carefully as each straight party ticket
vote is read on the triplicate tally sheets under the heading
"Number of votes received upon the ....... straight party
tickets." Upon completing the number of votes received by each
straight party ticket, the number so tallied for each party
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shall be entered numerically on the extreme right hand margin of
each such tally paper.] All ballots, after being removed from
the box, shall be kept within the unobstructed view of all
persons in the voting room until replaced in the box. No person
while handling the ballots shall have in his hand any pencil,
pen, stamp or other means of marking or spoiling any ballot. The
election officers shall forthwith proceed to canvass and compute
the votes cast, and shall not adjourn or postpone the canvass or
computation until it shall have been fully completed.
(b) When the vote cast for the different persons named upon
the ballots and upon the questions, if any, appearing thereon,
shall have been fully recorded in the tally papers and counted,
the election officers shall duly certify to the number of votes
cast for each person (upon the respective party tickets at
primaries), and shall prepare in ink two (2) general returns,
showing, in addition to the entries made thereon as aforesaid,
the total number of ballots received from the county board (the
total of each party at primaries), the number of ballots cast
(the number of each party at primaries), the number of ballots
(of each party at primaries) declared void, and the number of
ballots spoiled and cancelled, and any blank ballots cast, as
well as the votes cast for each candidate. At elections, the
number of votes cast for each candidate by each political party
or political body of which such candidate is a nominee shall be
separately stated.[: Provided, That the number of votes received
by each set of candidates upon "straight party tickets" shall be
entered opposite the names of the respective candidates in a
column immediately adjoining upon the left which column shall be
of convenient width and shall be headed "number of votes
received upon straight party tickets."] In an immediate column
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to the left thereto, the number of votes received by each
candidate upon all ballots [other than "straight party tickets"
including all ballots known as "split tickets"] shall be
entered, such column to be of convenient width and shall be
headed "number of votes [received other than upon straight party
tickets." The number of votes received by each candidate as
shown in the column headed "number of votes received upon
straight party tickets" shall then be added, together with the
number of votes received by each candidate as shown in the
column headed "number of votes received other than upon straight
party tickets" and thereupon, the] received." The total number
of votes received by each candidate shall be entered in a column
on the extreme right-hand side of the return sheets, which
column shall be of convenient width and shall be headed "total
number of votes."
Nothing in this section contained shall be construed to
authorize or permit the canvassing, counting or tallying ballots
with any less degree of strictness than otherwise required by
law.[, the intention of this section being to dispense with the
individual tally marks only so far as the so-called "straight
party tickets" are concerned, and all other operations of
tallying, counting, canvassing and announcing the votes shall
proceed as near as may be in accordance with the other
provisions of this act.]
* * *
Section 1223. What Ballots Shall Be Counted; Manner of
Counting; Defective Ballots.--(a) No ballot which is so marked
as to be capable of identification shall be counted. Any ballot
that is marked in blue, black or blue-black ink, in fountain pen
or ball point pen, or black lead pencil or indelible pencil,
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shall be valid and counted: Provided, That all markings on the
ballot are made by the same pen or pencil. Any ballot marked by
any other mark than an (X) or check ( ) in the spaces provided
for that purpose shall be void and not counted: Provided,
however, That no vote recorded thereon shall be declared void
because a cross (X) or check ( ) mark thereon is irregular in
form. [Any erasure, mutilation or defective marking of the
straight party column at November elections shall render the
entire ballot void, unless the voter has properly indicated his
choice for candidates in any office block, in which case the
vote or votes for such candidates only shall be counted.] Any
erasure or mutilation in the vote in any office block shall
render void the vote for any candidates in said block, but shall
not invalidate the votes cast on the remainder of the ballot, if
otherwise properly marked. Any ballot indicating a vote for any
person whose name is not printed on the ballot, by writing,
stamping or sticker, shall be counted as a vote for such person,
if placed in the proper space or spaces provided for that
purpose, whether or not an (X) or check ( ) is placed after the
name of such person: Provided, however, That if such writing,
stamping or sticker is placed over the name of a candidate
printed on the ballot, it shall render the entire vote in said
office block void. If an elector shall mark his ballot for more
persons for any office than there are candidates to be voted for
for such office, or if, for any reason, it may be impossible to
determine his choice for any office, his ballot shall not be
counted for such office, but the ballot shall be counted for all
offices for which it is properly marked. Ballots not marked, or
improperly or defectively marked, so that the whole ballot is
void, shall be set aside and shall be preserved with the other
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ballots.
* * *
Section 1302.1. Date of Application for Absentee Ballot.--
(a) Except as provided in subsections (a.1) and (a.2),
applications for absentee ballots shall be received in the
office of the county board of elections not earlier than fifty
(50) days before the primary or election [and], except that if a
county board of elections determines that it would be desirable
and consistent with its operational needs, any applications for
absentee ballots received more than fifty (50) days before the
primary or election may be processed before that time.
Applications for absentee ballots may be processed if received
not later than five o'clock P.M. of the first Tuesday prior to
the day of any primary or election.
[(a.1) Except as provided in subsection (a.2), in the event
any elector otherwise qualified who is so physically disabled or
ill on or before the first Tuesday prior to any primary or
election that he is unable to file his application or who
becomes physically disabled or ill after the first Tuesday prior
to any primary or election and is unable to appear at his
polling place or any elector otherwise qualified who because of
the conduct of his business, duties or occupation will
necessarily be absent from the municipality of his residence on
the day of the primary or election, which fact was not and could
not reasonably be known to said elector on or before the first
Tuesday prior to any primary or election, the elector shall be
entitled to an absentee ballot at any time prior to five o'clock
P.M. on the first Friday preceding any primary or election upon
execution of an Emergency Application in such form prescribed by
the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
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(a.2) In the event any elector otherwise qualified who
becomes so physically disabled or ill between five o'clock P.M.
on the first Friday preceding any primary or election and eight
o'clock P.M. on the day of any primary or election that he is
unable to appear at his polling place or any elector otherwise
qualified who because of the conduct of his business, duties or
occupation will necessarily be absent from the municipality of
his residence on the day of the primary or election, which fact
was not and could not reasonably be known to said elector prior
to five o'clock P.M. on the first Friday preceding any primary
or election, the elector shall be entitled to an absentee ballot
if the elector completes and files with the court of common
pleas in the county in which the elector is qualified to vote an
Emergency Application or a letter or other signed document,
which includes the same information as is provided on the
Emergency Application. Upon a determination that the elector is
a qualified absentee elector under section 1301, the judge shall
issue an absentee ballot to the elector.]
(a.3) (1) The following categories of electors may apply
for an absentee ballot under this subsection, if otherwise
qualified:
(i) An elector whose physical disability or illness
prevented the elector from applying for an absentee ballot
before five o'clock P.M. on the first Tuesday prior to the day
of the primary or election.
(ii) An elector who, because of the elector's business,
duties or occupation, was unable to apply for an absentee ballot
before five o'clock P.M. on the first Tuesday prior to the day
of the primary or election.
(iii) An elector who becomes so physically disabled or ill
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after five o'clock P.M. on the first Tuesday prior to the day of
the primary or election that the elector is unable to appear at
the polling place on the day of the primary or election.
(iv) An elector who, because of the conduct of the elector's
business, duties or occupation, will necessarily be absent from
the elector's municipality of residence on the day of the
primary or election, which fact was not and could not reasonably
be known to the elector on or before five o'clock P.M. on the
first Tuesday prior to the day of the primary or election.
(2) An elector described in paragraph (1) may submit an
application for an absentee ballot at any time up until the time
of the closing of the polls on the day of the primary or
election. The application shall include a declaration describing
the circumstances that prevented the elector from applying for
an absentee ballot before five o'clock P.M. on the first Tuesday
prior to the day of the primary or election or that prevent the
elector from appearing at the polling place on the day of the
primary or election, and the elector's qualifications under
paragraph (1). The declaration shall be made subject to the
provisions of 18 Pa.C.S. § 4904 (relating to unsworn
falsification to authorities).
(3) If the county board of elections determines that the
elector meets the requirements of this section, the board shall
issue an absentee ballot to the elector.
(4) If the elector is unable to appear [in court] at the
office of the county board of elections to receive the ballot,
the [judge] board shall give the elector's absentee ballot to an
authorized representative of the elector who is designated in
writing by the elector. The authorized representative shall
deliver the absentee ballot to the elector and return the
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completed absentee ballot, sealed in the official absentee
ballot envelopes, to the office of the county board of
elections, [who] which shall [distribute] retain the ballot,
unopened, [to the absentee voter's election district] until the
canvassing of all absentee ballots.
(5) If the elector is unable to appear [in court] at the
office of the county board of elections or unable to obtain
assistance from an authorized representative, the county board
may provide an authorized representative or ask the judge
[shall] of the court of common pleas in the county in which the
elector is qualified to vote to direct a deputy sheriff of the
county to deliver the absentee ballot to the elector if the
elector is at a physical location within the county and return
the completed absentee ballot, sealed in the official absentee
ballot envelopes, to the county board of elections, who shall
distribute the ballots, unopened, to the absentee voter's
respective election district. If there is no authorized
representative and a deputy sheriff is unavailable to deliver an
absentee ballot under this section, the judge may direct a
constable to make such delivery in accordance with the
provisions of this section.
(6) In the case of an elector who requires assistance in
marking the elector's ballot, the elector shall designate in
writing the person who will assist in marking the ballot. Such
person shall be otherwise eligible to provide assistance to
electors eligible for assistance, and such person shall declare
in writing that assistance was rendered. Any person other than
the designee who shall render assistance in marking a ballot or
any person rendering assistance who shall fail to execute a
declaration shall be guilty of a violation of this act.
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(7) No absentee ballot under this subsection shall be
counted which is received in the office of the county board of
elections later than [eight o'clock P.M. on the day of the
primary or election] the deadline for its receipt as provided in
section 1308(g).
(b) In the case of an elector whose application for an
absentee ballot is received by the office of the county board of
elections earlier than fifty (50) days before the primary or
election, the application shall be held and processed upon
commencement of the fifty-day period or at such earlier time as
the county board of elections determines may be appropriate.
[(c) In the case of an elector who is physically disabled or
ill on or before the first Tuesday prior to a primary or
election or becomes physically disabled or ill after the first
Tuesday prior to a primary or election, such Emergency
Application, letter or other signed document shall contain a
supporting affidavit from his attending physician stating that
due to physical disability or illness said elector was unable to
apply for an absentee ballot on or before the first Tuesday
prior to the primary or election or became physically disabled
or ill after that period.
(d) In the case of an elector who is necessarily absent
because of the conduct of his business, duties or occupation
under the unforeseen circumstances specified in subsections
(a.1) and (a.2), such Emergency Application, letter or other
signed document shall contain a supporting affidavit from such
elector stating that because of the conduct of his business,
duties or occupation said elector will necessarily be absent
from the municipality of his residence on the day of the primary
or election which fact was not and could not reasonably be known
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to said elector on or before the first Tuesday prior to the
primary or election.]
Section 1302.2. Approval of Application for Absentee
Ballot.--
(a) The county board of elections, upon receipt of any
application filed by a qualified elector not required to be
registered under preceding section 1301, shall ascertain from
the information on such application, district register or from
any other source that such applicant possesses all the
qualifications of a qualified elector other than being
registered or enrolled. If the board is satisfied that the
applicant is qualified to receive an official absentee ballot,
the application shall be marked approved such approval decision
shall be final and binding except that challenges may be made
only on the ground that the applicant did not possess
qualifications of an absentee elector. Such challenges must be
made to the county board of elections prior to [5:00 o'clock
P.M. on the first Friday prior to the election.] the applicable
deadline for the absentee ballots to be received, as provided in
section 1308(g). When so approved, the county board of elections
shall cause the applicant's name and residence (and at a
primary, the party enrollment) to be inserted in the Military,
Veterans and Emergency Civilians Absentee Voters File as
provided in section 1302.3, subsection (b): Providing, however,
That no application of any qualified elector in military service
shall be rejected for failure to include on his application any
information if such information may be ascertained within a
reasonable time by the county board of elections.
(b) The county board of elections, upon receipt of any
application filed by a qualified elector who is entitled, under
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the provisions of the Permanent Registration Law as now or
hereinafter enacted by the General Assembly, to absentee
registration prior to or concurrently with the time of voting as
provided under preceding section 1301, shall ascertain from the
information on such application or from any other source that
such applicant possesses all the qualifications of a qualified
elector. If the board is satisfied that the applicant is
entitled, under the provisions of the Permanent Registration Law
as now or hereinafter enacted by the General Assembly, to
absentee registration prior to or concurrently with the time of
voting and that the applicant is qualified to receive an
official absentee ballot, the application shall be marked
"approved." Such approval decision shall be final and binding
except that challenges may be made only on the ground that the
applicant did not possess the qualifications of an absentee
elector prior to or concurrently with the time of voting. Such
challenges must be made to the county board of elections prior
to [5:00 o'clock P.M. on the first Friday prior to the
election.] the applicable deadline for the absentee ballots to
be received, as provided in section 1308(g). When so approved,
the county board of elections shall cause the applicant's name
and residence (and at a primary, the party enrollment) to be
inserted in the Military, Veterans and Emergency Civilian
Absentee Voters File as provided in section 1302.3 subsection
(b).
(c) The county board of elections, upon receipt of any
application of a qualified elector required to be registered
under the provisions of preceding section 1301, shall determine
the qualifications of such applicant by verifying the proof of
identification and comparing the information set forth on such
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application with the information contained on the applicant's
permanent registration card. If the board is satisfied that the
applicant is qualified to receive an official absentee ballot,
the application shall be marked "approved." Such approval
decision shall be final and binding, except that challenges may
be made only on the ground that the applicant did not possess
the qualifications of an absentee elector. Such challenges must
be made to the county board of elections prior to [5:00 o'clock
P.M. on the first Friday prior to the election.] the applicable
deadline for the absentee ballots to be received, as provided in
section 1308(g). When so approved, the registration commission
shall cause an absentee voter's temporary registration card to
be inserted in the district register on top of and along with
the permanent registration card. The absentee voter's temporary
registration card shall be in the color and form prescribed in
subsection (e) of this section:
Provided, however, That the duties of the county boards of
elections and the registration commissions with respect to the
insertion of the absentee voter's temporary registration card of
any elector from the district register as set forth in section
1302.2 shall include only such applications and emergency
applications as are received on or before the first Tuesday
prior to the primary or election. In all cases where
applications are received after the first Tuesday prior to the
primary or election and before five o'clock P. M. on the first
Friday prior to the primary or election, the county board of
elections shall determine the qualifications of such applicant
by verifying the proof of identification and comparing the
information set forth on such application with the information
contained on the applicant's duplicate registration card on file
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in the General Register (also referred to as the Master File) in
the office of the Registration Commission and shall cause the
name and residence (and at primaries, the party enrollment) to
be inserted in the Military, Veterans and Emergency Civilian
Absentee Voters File as provided in section 1302.3, subsection
(b). In addition, the local district boards of elections shall,
upon canvassing the official absentee ballots under section
1308, examine the voting check list of the election district of
said elector's residence and satisfy itself that such elector
did not cast any ballot other than the one properly issued to
him under his absentee ballot application. In all cases where
the examination of the local district board of elections
discloses that an elector did vote a ballot other than the one
properly issued to him under the absentee ballot application,
the local district board of elections shall thereupon cancel
said absentee ballot and said elector shall be subject to the
penalties as hereinafter set forth.
(d) In the event that any application for an official
absentee ballot is not approved by the county board of
elections, the elector shall be notified immediately to that
effect with a statement by the county board of the reasons for
the disapproval. For those applicants whose proof of
identification was not provided with the application or could
not be verified by the board, the board shall send notice to the
elector with the absentee ballot requiring the elector to
provide proof of identification with the absentee ballot or the
ballot will not be counted.
(e) [The absentee voter's temporary registration card shall
be in duplicate and the same size as the permanent registration
card, in a different and contrasting color to the permanent
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registration card and shall contain the absentee voter's name
and address and shall conspicuously contain the words "Absentee
Voter." Such card shall also contain the affidavit required by
subsection (b) of section 1306.] The voter's record in the
district register shall contain the words "absentee voter."
(f) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, a
qualified absentee elector shall not be required to provide
proof of identification if the elector is entitled to vote by
absentee ballot under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens
Absentee Voting Act (Public Law 99-410, 100 Stat. 924) or by an
alternative ballot under the Voting Accessibility for the
Elderly and Handicapped Act (Public Law 98-435, 98 Stat. 1678).
Section 4. Section 1306(a)(1) of the act is amended and the
section is amended by adding a subsection to read:
Section 1306. Voting by Absentee Electors.--(a) Except as
provided in paragraphs (1), (2) and (3), at any time after
receiving an official absentee ballot, but on or before [five
o'clock P.M. on the Friday prior to] eight o'clock p.m. the day
of the primary or election, the elector shall, in secret,
proceed to mark the ballot only in black lead pencil, indelible
pencil or blue, black or blue-black ink, in fountain pen or ball
point pen, and then fold the ballot, enclose and securely seal
the same in the envelope on which is printed, stamped or
endorsed "Official Absentee Ballot."
(1) [Any elector who submits an Emergency Application and
receives an absentee ballot in accordance with section
1302.1(a.2) or (c) shall mark the ballot on or before eight
o'clock P.M. on the day of the primary or election. This
envelope shall then be placed in the second one, on which is
printed the form of declaration of the elector, and the address
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of the elector's county board of election and the local election
district of the elector. The elector shall then fill out, date
and sign the declaration printed on such envelope. Such envelope
shall then be securely sealed and the elector shall send same by
mail, postage prepaid, except where franked, or deliver it in
person to said county board of election.] (Reserved).
* * *
(c) The following apply:
(1) An elector voting via an absentee ballot shall:
(i) deliver the ballot in person to the county board of
elections by eight o'clock P.M. on the day of the primary or
election; or
(ii) mail the ballot such that it is postmarked no later
than the day immediately preceding the election.
(2) When a ballot is presented to a county board of
elections with a postmark that is missing or illegible, the
board may determine that the ballot was timely cast and
submitted if there are other reliable indicia of the date it was
sent. In that case, a board may rely on the date given on the
voter's affidavit or on additional information obtained from the
United States Postal Service, the foreign postal agency or the
private carrier or courier service through which the ballot was
delivered.
(3) As used in this subsection, "postmark" means the
official cancellation of postage or other indicia, as stamped,
printed or written on the delivery envelope to indicate the date
it was submitted for delivery by the United States Postal
Service, a foreign postal agency or a recognized private common
carrier or courier service.
Section 5. Section 1308(a), (b.1), (e), (f), (g)(1) and (2)
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of the act are amended to read:
Section 1308. Canvassing of Official Absentee Ballots.--(a)
The county boards of election, upon receipt of official absentee
ballots in [such] sealed official absentee ballot envelopes,
shall safely keep the [same] absentee ballots in sealed or
locked containers until they [distribute same to the appropriate
local election districts in a manner prescribed by the Secretary
of the Commonwealth.
Except as provided in section 1302.1(a.2), the county board
of elections shall then distribute the absentee ballots,
unopened, to the absentee voter's respective election district
concurrently with the distribution of the other election
supplies. Absentee ballots shall be canvassed immediately and
continuously without interruption until completed after the
close of the polls on the day of the election in each election
district. The results of the canvass of the absentee ballots
shall then be included in and returned to the county board with
the returns of that district. Except as provided in section
1302.1(a.2) and subsection (g), no absentee ballot shall be
counted which is received in the office of the county board of
election later than five o'clock P.M. on the Friday immediately
preceding the primary or November election.] are to be canvassed
by the county board of elections. An absentee ballot, whether
issued to a civilian, military or other voter during the regular
or emergency application period, shall be canvassed in
accordance with subsection (g).
* * *
(b.1) [In all election districts in which electronic voting
systems are used, absentee ballots shall be opened at the
election district, checked for write-in votes in accordance with
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section 1113-A and then either hand-counted or counted by means
of the automatic tabulation equipment, whatever the case may
be.] (Reserved).
* * *
(e) [At such time the local election board shall then
further examine the declaration on each envelope not so set
aside and shall compare the information thereon with that
contained in the "Registered Absentee Voters File," the absentee
voters' list and the "Military Veterans and Emergency Civilians
Absentee Voters File." If the local election board is satisfied
that the declaration is sufficient and the information contained
in the "Registered Absentee Voters File," the absentee voters'
list and the "Military Veterans and Emergency Civilians Absentee
Voters File" verifies his right to vote, the local election
board shall announce the name of the elector and shall give any
watcher present an opportunity to challenge any absentee elector
upon the ground or grounds (1) that the absentee elector is not
a qualified elector; or (2) that the absentee elector was within
the municipality of his residence on the day of the primary or
election during the period the polls were open, except where he
was in military service or except in the case where his ballot
was obtained for the reason that he was unable to appear
personally at the polling place because of illness or physical