FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 15, 2020
HARRISBURG, Pa. – As the General Assembly and Gov. Tom Wolf continue to advance their own election reform proposals, VoteSafePennsylvania today urged quick consensus on key issues that would give election directors the tools they need to safely and securely administer the Nov. 3 general election.
The governor today urged action on several key initiatives, including pre-canvassing, which give counties more time to process and count ballots before election day. The House passed a measure (H.B. 2626) in early September that the Senate is expected to take up next week, although the governor has expressed concerns about some provisions in the broader legislation.
“There is still time to get something done, but time is running short, with the election less than 50 days away,” said former Republican House Majority Leader Dave Reed, co-chairman of VoteSafe Pennsylvania. “That both sides continue to advance proposals and push for reforms is proof that they understand just how important these issues are. It’s time to close the deal.”
During the recent June primary, more than 2.8 million Pennsylvanians voted. More than 1.4 million of those votes, or 51 percent, were cast through mail-in ballots, making it for the first time in this state’s history that in-person voting was eclipsed by votes received by mail. Even more mail-in votes are expected in November, which is why pre-canvassing is so important. Pre-canvassing allows counties to open envelopes, flatten and stack the ballots, and prepare them to be counted on election day.
“On election day, election directors should be making sure the process runs smoothly, not opening envelopes. Pre-canvassing allows them to put their attention where it’s needed most,” said former Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, who also served as the Undersecretary of the U.S. Army, and is co-chairman of VoteSafe Pennsylvania. “Election directors all over the state have asked for help, and it’s time for our elected leaders to answer the call.”
Current and former elected officials, as well as nonprofit organizations, health-care professionals, community ambassadors, professional athletes, leaders from academia, chambers of commerce, corporations and many other entities have joined VoteSafe Pennsylvania. The coalition launched in July and is working to advocate for secure mail-in ballots and safe in-person voting sites amid the COVID-19 pandemic. All five of Pennsylvania’s former living governors have signed on to endorse the initiative.
About VoteSafe Pennsylvania
VoteSafe Pennsylvania is a bipartisan coalition comprised of community leaders, advocates, nonprofit organizations, former elected officials, and election experts who all want the same things—an efficient, accessible, secure mail-in ballot process and safe, in-person voting sites that ensure Pennsylvanians won’t have to risk their health for simply standing in line to vote. VoteSafe Pennsylvania is part of VoteSafe US, a national cross-partisan coalition of elections administrators and organizations that endorse the simple principle that every American has the right to vote safely amidst the pandemic. For more information, go to pa.votesafe.us.
Media Contact: Caitlin O’Connor