PA Governor Wolf Calls GOP-Backed Election Bill “Extremist Proposal” to “Eliminate” Voting Rights
A spokesman for Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on Sunday criticized an election bill proposed by Republican state lawmakers, calling it an “extremist proposal” that “will silence the voices of Pennsylvanians.”
Wolf, a Democrat, widely criticized the GOP’s efforts on electoral laws last week, vowing to “veto any legislative effort aimed at undermining the freedoms currently enjoyed by Pennsylvanians.” But the weekend’s statement was yet another reaction from Wolf’s office after the substance of the Republicans’ bill became public.
âMake no mistake, this proposal is not intended to protect voters’ rights or increase access. It is an extremist proposal to attempt to undermine confidence in our electoral system that led to the assault on the electoral system. United States Capitol, “said Wolf’s press secretary Lyndsay Kensinger. “They don’t like the outcome of the November election and now they are retaliating against voters by pushing a proposal disguised as ‘electoral integrity.’ They want to create new barriers to voting and silence the voices of Pennsylvanians.”
Kensinger added: âIt is appalling to try to pass laws that take away the freedom to vote for your own political gain. The governor will always stand up for our democracy and the right to vote for every Pennsylvanian, regardless of your political party.
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The bill would allow voters to return the ballots by mail, in person to county election boards, or to drop off boxes that must be watched by election officials. It will also ban permanent postal voting lists, requiring voters to request one postal ballot for every election they wish to vote this way.
The bill would also establish an “Office of Election Audits” to “conduct confirmation audits of the results of every election in the Commonwealth, completed by the third Friday following the election.”
But probably the most controversial element of the bill is its new requirement that voters must present identification each time they vote rather than the first time they vote at a certain polling station. All current forms of voter identification would be accepted if the law is passed, as well as signed affidavits if voters do not have ID with them.
The bill would also expand what counts as a valid voter ID card with a new, free voter ID card.
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“This responsible bill encompasses all aspects of the issues brought before the committee and will propel Pennsylvania’s election into the 21st century, while correcting fatal flaws and electoral security issues,” said State Representative Seth. Grove, a Republican who is the bill’s main sponsor.
The nearly 150-page bill also includes many other provisions, including a voters’ bill of rights. These rights include the right to replacement ballots in the event of an error and the right to assisted voting.
Republicans hold a significant majority in both the Pennsylvania State House and the Senate. But these majorities are not veto proof, so the Republicans’ bill is almost certain to fail.