Harrisburg, April 22, 2020 – Sen. Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny) today introduced a bill that would change Pennsylvania’s voting system so that all elections are conducted entirely by mail.
“The pandemic has compromised the health and safety of our citizens, shaken our economy and inflicted uncertainty and fear throughout Pennsylvania,” Fontana said. “While casting one’s vote in the upcoming election is hardly at the top of anyone’s priority list right now, my legislation would empower people to vote conveniently and safely by mail.”
Under a bipartisan law approved last year, Pennsylvanians already have the option of voting by mail. Beginning with this November’s general election, the Fontana bill (Senate Bill 1129) would conduct all elections exclusively by mail.
The Fontana legislation would require county election officials to mail ballots along with postage-free return envelopes to all registered voters weeks before the election. Voters could request a replacement ballot if they lose or misplace their ballot. Citizens could mail in their ballot any time prior to election day.
In the past, voters could only vote by mail if they requested an absentee ballot in advance and provided an excuse that included illness, disability or a known absence from the municipality where they live on Election Day.
Fontana said his proposed mail-only voting system would be more accommodating, convenient, safer and less expensive. If approved, Pennsylvania would join five other states that hold mail-only elections.
“Voting by mail should be the norm, especially in these uncertain times when we don’t really know how dire the Covid-19 crisis will be by the time election day gets here,” Fontana said.
For those who want to vote by mail in the upcoming June 2 primary, they may apply for a mail-in ballot at: www.pavoterservices.pa.gov/OnlineAbsenteeApplication/#/OnlineAbsenteeBegin . Voters can also call their local election office and request a mail-in ballot.
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