Gov. Tom Wolf has vetoed HB 1300, the 154-page package of changes that would have made voting more difficult, particularly for Black, Brown and low income voters. The bill would have cost more than $100 million to implement. It had been rushed through the legislative process, and included provisions that are being promoted by a special interest group’s campaign to change voting laws nationwide.
Gov. Wolf also vetoed $3.1 million in new funding for the state Auditor General’s Office, which was apparently intended to pay for a new bureau that would have been created by HB 1300.
Statement of Khalif Ali, Executive Director of Common Cause Pennsylvania
We – and the taxpayers of Pennsylvania – thank Gov. Wolf for his vetoes today.
Today’s vetoes help quantify the financial cost of the anti-voter legislation being passed around the country. In actual dollars-and-cents, making it harder to vote would have cost $99 million in upfront costs and another $19 million in annual recurring costs. Who knew that our legislative leadership would be willing to spend that much taxpayer money, just to make it harder for Pennsylvanians to have our voices heard at the ballot box?
But this effort has had other costs, too. Pennsylvanians’ trust in our elections has been damaged by all the rhetoric that’s been thrown around, trying to justify the changes in HB 1300.
Despite all the speechifying, Pennsylvanians can trust the results of our elections. Audits of 2020 ballots confirmed our election results twice – the first audit, of 2% of ballots in each county; and the second, Risk Limiting Audit, which was performed in almost all counties.
Yet somehow, too many Pennsylvanians have been talked-into still questioning those results. As in Georgia – which recounted the same ballots three times – the results don’t change just because some people can’t accept them. It’s been 8 months, it’s time to look forward and help our counties in the future, not be stuck examining the past.
Today’s vetoes saved Pennsylvania’s taxpayers more than $100 million, which legislative leadership wanted to spend propping-up ‘the Big Lie’ about the 2020 election results.
But this morning, House State Government Committee Chairman Seth Grove insisted he would ‘take election reform directly to the people’ – using a constitutional amendment process to ‘bypass the executive branch.’ The Pennsylvania Constitution is not a work-around for the democratic process.
We trust that Pennsylvania’s voters will consider the impact on their wallets before voting on that constitutional amendment.
What has been lost, in this attempt to pass omnibus anti-voter legislation, was our election officials’ request that the Legislature authorize pre-canvassing of ballots. If elections officials were able to pre-process mail ballots before election day, they could be counted faster. We could have avoided the spectacle we saw on November 3rd and the days following.
Twice now, legislative leadership has packaged this immediate need in with anti-voter provisions.
Common Cause Pennsylvania calls on our legislators to come together and pass legislation that gives the counties the ability to pre-canvass that they have been asking for repeatedly while also balancing the needs of our voters. It’s not an either or approach.
We will continue to advocate for our counties and our communities because in our government, every person’s voice is supposed to be heard, and every voter’s ballot counted.
In the meantime, Common Cause Pennsylvania thanks Gov. Wolf for his vetoes today.
Read our June 25 press release on HB 1300 here.