Young seeks to ease burden on local election officials, fights against voter suppression through new legislation
Rep. Regina Young November 8, 2021 | 4:28 PM
HARRISBURG, Nov. 8 – State Rep. Regina Young, D-Phila./Delaware, plans to introduce legislation that would combat voter suppression and make Pennsylvania elections more efficient for local election workers.
Part of Young’s legislation would deal with mail-in ballots, allowing them to be counted up to 21 days before an election and requiring that the counting process start within seven days of an election. The existing election guidelines forbid any vote counting earlier than Election Day.
“Mail-in voting has become incredibly popular and our election policy needs to reflect that,” Young said. “This legislation would lessen the massive burden county election workers currently face on Election Day and yield accurate election results faster.”
The new legislation from Young would also give voters a chance to prove their identity if their ballot is denied because of a mismatched signature.
“I refuse to allow votes to be silenced because of signature variances,” Young said. “Our election officials do a fantastic job – but they are not trained handwriting experts. If two signatures don’t match up, the voter must be notified and allowed to affirm their signature.”
Under current election policy, mail-in ballots that show a signature inconsistency are immediately rejected without any notice or appeal offered to the elector.
“As an elected official, it is my duty to continue the fight to eliminate voting barriers and ensure all voices are heard,” Young said. “Republican legislators are obsessed with making it harder to vote, especially for poor, Black and brown people, because they aren’t satisfied with the outcomes of a free and fair election.”
Young said since the 2020 presidential election, the Republican majority in Pennsylvania has spent an enormous amount of resources to suppress votes and investigate election results, despite overwhelming evidence that a free and fair election occurred.
She said that previously H.B. 1300 was introduced by the House Republican majority and was vetoed by Gov. Tom Wolf in June after passing through the House and Senate because it sought to implement strict voter identification requirements and narrow the window for voter registration.
In September, Republican state senators launched a ‘forensic investigation’ of the 2020 election results, regardless of the fact that all but four of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties participated in an election audit that confirmed the results as accurate.
Young is especially concerned about the advancement of legislation, H.B. 2044, reported out of the State Government Committee by House Republicans today. The bill seeks to further suppress the votes of marginalized communities by restricting the ways in which people can be informed and engaged in voting.
“I promise the people of Pennsylvania that House Democrats will do everything in our power to defend democracy and prevent the Republican majority from sharing nonfactual information that further divides our Commonwealth,” Young said.