Today, the General Assembly passed a bill postponing the state’s primary elections until June 2nd, due to the ongoing public health emergency.
Statement from Suzanne Almeida, Interim Executive Director of Common Cause Pennsylvania
This is a defining time in our state’s history. It is apparent that the COVID-19 crisis is reshaping many of our day-to-day lives in unexpected ways, including the rescheduling of Pennsylvania’s primary election. Common Cause Pennsylvania applauds the General Assembly for coming together in a bipartisan effort to enact emergency legislation. This legislation permits the rescheduling of our primary date from April 28th to June 2nd while also ensuring that the historic reforms of Act 77 can be successfully implemented. Moving this primary not only protects the safety of all voters, but also the integrity of our elections here in the Commonwealth.
Most of what we see in this bill is good. But it’s essential that the changes made in the bill, including allowing election officials to close and consolidate polling places, does not disenfranchise Pennsylvania voters. Common Cause PA will keep working to ensure this doesn’t occur.
We do know that moving the primary date allows our counties to ensure that our elections are held and conducted in a safe, fair, and orderly manner. We all have obligations to a democracy, even in the middle of a crisis.
Rescheduling a primary election is not a decision that is made lightly, but moving this election now prevents us from having to implement last minute changes, which can disenfranchise voters. We witnessed last week’s confusion in Ohio, when its government cancelled an election at the last minute. We don’t want that in Pennsylvania.
In the weeks ahead, Common Cause PA will continue to work with the Department of State and county election officials to ensure they are taking the necessary steps so that every voter is made aware of the primary date change. Communications about this change must be disseminated to each and every community and voter across the Commonwealth. All voters must have the information they need to participate in our government by casting their vote on election day.
What the Legislature accomplished today shows that elections are not about any individual party or candidate, but about the voters. Elections are how we make our voices heard, and thanks to this change we have the time to make sure that every Pennsylvanian can safely use their voice on election day.