Committee of Seventy makes urgent appeal to state legislature to pass voting reforms

mail-in ballot
Photo credit Holli Stephens/KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Pennsylvania is likely to be a battleground state in next year’s presidential election. The election watchdog group Committee of Seventy says reforms are needed to make sure it goes smoothly.

Most of the reforms involve mail-in balloting. Committee of Seventy Policy Director Pat Christmas says things have changed since the state extended mail-in ballots to all voters.

“Now that a large percentage of Pennsylvania voters cast mail-in ballots, the county needs extra tie before election day to process those ballots.”

The committee recommends allowing counties to inspect and open envelopes and flatten the ballots for scanning up to a week before election day, as well as getting rid of the privacy envelope and handwritten date requirement which end up disenfranchising thousands of voters needlessly.

It also urges the legislature to curb frivolous recount demands. He says the current law is nearly 100 years old and allows recount at the precinct level for a mere $50 fee and no evidence of error or fraud, which he says could stymie the democratic process in 2024.

“Because of the presidential election cycle next year, we cannot be in a position where the presidential certification is jeopardized by local certification delays here in Pennsylvania.”

Christmas says the legislature must act this fall to get the reforms in place.
He hopes the General Assembly will understand the importance of getting them done before the 2024 presidential election — possibly, in the next few weeks as they consider moving up the state’s primary date to March.

“This is about putting partisan politics aside and fixing some real issues,” he said.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Holli Stephens/KYW Newsradio