Snyder: Remove barriers that deter participation in elections

H.B. 75 would enable early voting, no-excuse absentee balloting

HARRISBURG, June 13 – State Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington, today pushed for action on her legislation that would provide early voting and no-excuse absentee balloting for Pennsylvania voters.

“Free the Pennsylvania voter and allow early voting and no-excuse absentee ballots,” said Snyder, participating in a Capitol news conference. “House Bill 75 does both, and the only thing we stand to lose under the measure is Pennsylvania’s status as a big government throttle on the will of the people at the ballot box.”

Snyder said H.B. 75 would establish early voting eight days before an Election Day and would end on the day before a primary or general election.

“We’re busy people, on the go constantly to jobs, family responsibilities, civic duties, and not all of us work 9-to-5 shifts,” Snyder said. “We can do better. We should do better.”

Snyder said 37 states and the District of Columbia offer some sort of early voting.

“These are red states and blue states,” Snyder said. “While most states open the doors and encourage voting, Pennsylvania remains stuck in the mindset of ‘You’ll vote when we say you can, and not a day earlier.’”

Snyder said Pennsylvania applies the same outdated thinking to absentee ballots, providing absentee ballots only for medical, military or religious reasons, or because  job responsibilities force a voter out of town on Election Day.

“I say ‘let Pennsylvanians vote’ and stop forcing them to come up with excuses for seeking an absentee ballot,” said Snyder, noting that 27 states and the District of Columbia offer "no-excuse" absentee voting. “It’s none of government’s business why a valid voter needs or wants an absentee ballot."

House Bill 75 awaits consideration in the House State Government Committee.

Other measures outlined  Tuesday included:

-- H.B. 101, providing same-day voter registration;

-- H.B. 1546, permitting eligible voters to cast their ballot by mail;

-- H.B. 1465, allowing citizens to pre-register to vote at age 16 and automatically registering qualified electors  when they interact with state agencies; and

-- S.B. 608, upgrading and streamlining voter registration.