June 30, 2021
HARRISBURG, PA - The Committee of Seventy opposed House Bill 1300, and we are relieved that the sprawling overhaul measure will not become law; but the status quo remains unacceptable. We share the disappointment of local election officials and voting access advocates as we enter the summer recess without urgently needed updates to Pennsylvania election law and with uncertain prospects for reform in the fall.
We agree with many, including lawmakers in both parties, that the legislation included several tremendously helpful changes. Funding for and implementation of electronic poll books in all 67 counties arguably tops this list, along with the additional time provided for counties to process mail-in ballots ahead of Election Day. But numerous other provisions would unequivocally hinder some voters’ ability to cast ballots, and others would thrust counties into another unforgiving scramble to learn and adhere to various new rules and procedures ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.
The only viable path for reform, regardless of its size and scope, has to include lawmakers of both parties. We urge them to, once again, consider the voluminous feedback already offered to the General Assembly regarding current law and voting procedures. We urge our legislative leaders and the Governor to engage in meaningful bipartisan discussions over the summer around the common sense changes that all sides can agree on.
The Committee of Seventy is a nonpartisan civic leadership organization that advances representative, ethical and effective government in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania through citizen engagement and public policy advocacy.