McClinton calls on Senate to reform election bill and prevent disenfranchisement of voters ahead of November election

With exactly two months until the general election, state Rep. Joanna McClinton today called on the state Senate to reform legislation that would lead to voter suppression and prevent Pennsylvanians from casting their ballot safely.

"This is arguably one of the biggest elections in our nation's history, and we have a responsibility as legislators to pass laws that ensure all Pennsylvanians have the tools to let their voices be heard without worry," said McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware. "Mail-in voting is a safe and secure way to vote amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and we should be concentrating on strengthening this process. Instead, the majority party, who decides on what we vote on, is focusing on hindering it with proposals that would cause confusion and create barriers."

According to McClinton, H.B. 2626, which passed the House yesterday without her support, would make unnecessary, last-minute changes to mail-in voting and the election process, including measures to:

  • Give counties less time to count ballots.
  • Shorten the time period in which voters can request a mail-in ballot.
  • Ban secure ballot drop boxes.
  • Lift the county residency restriction on which party officials may observe inside polling places, raising concerns about voter intimidation and violence on Election Day.

"With an influx of mail-in ballots in the June primary election, drop boxes proved essential, especially in Philadelphia and Delaware counties," McClinton said. "Taking away this vital resource will disenfranchise our most vulnerable neighbors who don't have traditional mailboxes at their homes and rely on this option to vote without having to contend with crowded polling places during this health crisis."

McClinton did point out a positive in H.B. 2626 that would allow the pre-canvassing of mail-in ballots.

"Pre-canvassing mail-in ballots is essential in processing votes in an accurate and timely fashion, as well as provide much needed relief for counties," McClinton explained. "I am stressing to my Senate colleagues to keep this critical aspect of the bill and strip out the rest of the nonsense to stop the disenfranchisement of voters." 

House Bill 2626 now heads to the Senate for consideration.