HARRISBURG – Rep. Ryan Warner (R-Fayette/Westmoreland) joined a majority in the state House today in approving the sweeping Voting Rights Protection Act.
“Our one and only goal in this legislation is simple – to improve the administration of elections across the Commonwealth,” Warner said. “This isn’t about looking backward at prior election results. It’s about learning from the past, looking forward and ensuring the security, integrity and accessibility of our future elections for ALL legal voters.”
The Voting Rights Protection Act would tighten election security by expanding upon Pennsylvania’s current voter identification law, require regular election audits at the state and county levels, improve election uniformity among the 67 counties as required by the Pennsylvania Constitution, enhance certification processes for all machines used in elections, and require signature verification using ballot scanning equipment for mail-in and absentee ballots.
To support the voter ID requirement, the bill would ensure registered voters receive through their counties of residence a scannable and durable voter registration card for use when voting in person, or an ID directly from the Department of State.
“We are required to provide identification for so many things in today’s society; I can’t imagine why we don’t already ask people to do so when they are participating in our elections – one of the most important responsibilities we bear as Americans,” Warner said.
In addition to election security, the bill would also address issues raised by county election officials during a series of hearings by the House State Government Committee this spring. Specifically, the bill would allow earlier counting of mail-in ballots, moving it from no earlier than 7 a.m. on Election Day to five days before Election Day. It would also move the last day to register to vote back to 30 days prior to an election, as it was before its recent shift to closer to elections to ensure counties have adequate time for processing.
Finally, to ensure fair access to voting, the bill would allow for early in-person voting to begin in 2025; correcting non-fatal defects on mail-in ballots, such as unsigned or undated ballots, which must be completed by 8 p.m. of Election Day; and giving counties the option to use secure mail-in ballot drop boxes during specific times and at secure locations.
House Bill 1300
now goes to the Senate for its consideration.
Representative Ryan Warner
52nd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Patricia Hippler