Pre-Canvassing Passes in Pennsylvania House

This week, the Pennsylvania state House passed legislation that would allow election officials to begin the pre-processing of mail-in ballots up to seven days before an election.

“This is a straightforward, nonpartisan fix that will make a dramatic difference for voters and election officials come November,” said Philip Hensley-Robin, executive director of Common Cause Pennsylvania. “Now, it’s up to the Senate to put people over political squabbles and pass this simple resolution to a persistent problem.” 

“Pre-canvassing would not only alleviate an administrative burden on election officials — it would also benefit voters,” said Hensley-Robin. “Additional time for pre-canvassing would give election workers more time to identify defects with voters’ mail ballots, which in turn would make it easier for voters to receive notice of a defect and ensure their vote counts, either by curing their ballots or voting provisionally on election day.” 

Current law only allows this pre-processing, also known as pre-canvassing, to start at 7 a.m. on election day. Election officials have long asked for this commonsense remedy to Pennsylvania’s ballot counting delays. 

HB 847 was introduced by Rep. Scott Conklin. Several bills to expand pre-canvassing have been introduced each session since 2019, when Act 77 was passed to allow no-excuse absentee voting.

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