BRIDGEVILLE – Rep. Jason Ortitay (R-Washington/Allegheny) today issued the following statement in response to the House passing a comprehensive election reform measure (House Bill 1300
“As a member of the House State Government Committee, I participated in 10 public hearings to better understand what is working and what is not working with our Commonwealth’s election system. The testimony showed deficiencies that need to be addressed. The vast majority of our election law has not been changed or updated since the 1930s.
“First, representatives from Pennsylvania’s county governments expressed concern that they need additional time and monetary resources to conduct elections. The bill would increase pay for poll workers to incentivize more people to assist at the polls. In addition, the state would reimburse counties 50% of the costs involved in mail-in and early voting procedures. By further assisting counites with the costs involved in conducting elections, we are leveling the playing field across the Commonwealth so that all residents are afforded the same experience.
“Second, the bill would create a bill of rights for senior and disabled voters. One of the provisions would allow people who fall into either of these categories the right to move to the front of the line at a poll, in addition to requiring all polling locations be handicapped accessible. Also, disabled voters would have the option of having their ballot brought to their vehicle or to bring a service animal into the polling location. No one should be deterred from voting due to illness or infirmity. This helps remove barriers that have identified.
“Third, the bill would require each voter to show identification, which is supported by 74% of those who responded to a recent Franklin and Marshall poll. The identification options would be expanded to include a free scannable and durable voter registration card that would be required to be sent by counties to every registered voter. This discourages people from attempting to cast illegal ballots and instills confidence in the election process. In addition, federal laws provide that anyone who shows up to vote must be allowed to vote. This bill does not change that and will not keep anyone from being able to cast a vote. It will also speed up in-person voting and reduce waiting time while helping poll workers.
“The bill also reduces waiting times at polls, clarifies the requirements for number and location of early voting centers, adds the pre-canvassing timeline, provides for a system to clean up voter rolls, creates new penalties for intimidation of election officials and provides for various transparency and public record requirement updates. This bill also directs the Department of State to equally and uniformly distribute any private donations to implement the election system across the state.
“I’m hopeful the Senate will pass this bill quickly and send it to the governor for his review so that these changes can be made. While the governor has said he will veto the bill, I would encourage him to read it first and determine the merits of it before making a final decision.”
The 46th Legislative District includes Collier and South Fayette townships and Bridgeville, Heidelberg, McDonald and Oakdale boroughs in Allegheny County. It also encompasses Canton, Cecil, Mt. Pleasant, Robinson and Smith townships and Burgettstown, McDonald and Midway boroughs in Washington County.
Representative Jason Ortitay
46th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Tracy Polovick