WESA (NPR) “The Confluence” (AUDIO): Pennsylvania Legislature Considers Voting Reforms Before Next Election
WESA (NPR) "The Confluence" (AUDIO): Pennsylvania Legislature Considers Voting Reforms Before Next Election
Bipartisan voting reform is possible, says Common Cause interim executive director
(00:00 — 5:31)
President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign has sued the Pennsylvania Department of State and boards of elections in all 67 counties over vote-by-mail procedures, alleging that the state mishandled the June 2 primary and disenfranchised voters. The election was the first in Pennsylvania in which voters could receive no excuse mail-in ballots. 1.5 million Pennsylvanians cast their votes by mail in the primary.
Suzanne Almeida, the interim executive director of Common Cause Pennsylvania, a nonpartisan organization working for good government, says she worries that some election lawsuits could make it harder for people to vote.
“I am always concerned when I see legal filings or policies that are designed to make it more difficult for people to vote. We know that the June 2 primary was challenging for a lot of folks—for voters, for election administrators,” she says. “Ultimately, our goal at Common Cause is to make sure that every eligible voter can cast a ballot and not create an atmosphere that scares people away or makes it more difficult for them to get to the ballot box.”
Last week, Gov. Tom Wolf signed legislation requiring the Department of State to provide a full report on the primary process so needed changes can be made. Legislators are considering various reforms, including allowing counties to start the process of counting and canvassing mail in ballots as much as a few weeks in advance of Election Day.
“We have time, we have political will” to make changes, Almeida says. “Ensuring that we have an election that works for everyone from election administrators to voters is something that I think both Republicans and Democrats in Pennsylvania have demonstrated that they want to get behind.”