Yesterday, I told you that county officials statewide have been frustrated by the state's failure to tweak our election laws. As luck would have it, state GOP legislators proposed some major changes yesterday. Though Governor Wolf and Democrats are already complaining, most of the changes are really noncontroversial and will help county elections officials.
SpotlightPa lists these changes as follows:
Require every voter to present ID at the polls - This is the most controversial change. Democrats have maintained for years that minorities and persons with limited income often lack ID. That may have been true decades ago, but these days, everyone has ID. As an election judge, members of both parties often insisted on presenting ID, even though it was unnecessary. While I doubt that an ID requirement is really needed to prevent someone from impersonating another voter, it will give Republicans more faith in our elections.
Allow counties to begin processing and counting mail ballots — what’s known as “pre-canvassing” — five days before Election Day - County elections officials have been begging for this head start so they can complete the county as soon as possible after the polls close.
Create six days of in-person early voting, beginning after the 2024 presidential election - There was a long line of early voters before the 2020 Presidential. This stressed an elections office that was burdened with numerous other tasks.
Allow mail ballot drop boxes for seven days before Election Day
Move the voter registration deadline to 30 days before Election Day, from 15 - When a person registers 15 days before an election, it is often too late for registration information to be placed in pollbooks. I have encountered numerous voters from both parties who had registration cards but were not in the system.
Move the deadline for requesting mail ballots to 15 days before Election Day, from seven. - We now know that numerous voters who wait until the last minute to apply for an absentee will end up having to go to the polls on election day and vote provisionally. Extending the cut-off date ensures those who apply for a mail-in ballot will actually get them before the election.
Allow voters to fix — or “cure” — mail ballots with missing signatures. - This was a major problem in the Presidential.
Ban counties from accepting private donations for election administration. - This appears to be an overreaction to Facebook's donations to numerous counties to cover Covid-related expenses.