April 12, 2021
BUCKS COUNTY – April 12, 2021 − State Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) announced today that he will be introducing legislation to guarantee a more timely count of ballots on Election Day by allowing counties additional time to pre-canvass mail-in ballots. The legislation would permit county boards of election to begin pre-canvassing mail-in ballots beginning 21 days before Election Day.
“We saw more than 2.6 million Pennsylvanians vote by mail in the 2020 general election, yet the final results were not known for five days. If we want a timely counting of ballots on Election Day, we must allow election officials to begin handling the influx of mail-in ballots sooner,” said Sen. Santarsiero.
In 2019, the General Assembly passed Act 77 updating Pennsylvania’s election code to allow for no-fault absentee voting by mail, beginning 50 days before an election. The Election Code was then amended in April 2020 to permit counties to begin pre-canvassing ballots, but not tally the results, beginning at 7:00 AM on Election Day.
“The change to the Election Code in 2020 was a good start, but as we saw from how long it took to count all the ballots, it just doesn’t go far enough to provide counties with the time they need to process these ballots,” continued Santarsiero. “Allowing for a 21 day pre-canvass will ease the burden on our county election administrators, which is something other states with mail-in ballot programs have been doing successfully for many years.”
Sen. Santarsiero was recently appointed to the Senate’s Special Committee on Election Integrity and Reform, which has been hearing testimony from election administrators across the country about how they safely and efficiently oversee elections. Last week, Sen. Santarsiero announced he would be introducing the Safe Drop Act, which would make it easier to vote by requiring counties have 1 ballot drop box location for every 20,000 voters.
April 6, 2021
BUCKS COUNTY – April 6, 2021 – State Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) announced today that he will be introducing legislation to make voting easier for Pennsylvanians. The legislation, called the Safe Drop Act, requires counties provide a minimum of one drop box for every 20,000 residents. Moreover, the drop boxes would have to be available to voters 24 hours a day, seven days a week from the beginning of mail in balloting until the polls close at 8:00 pm on Election Day.
“When we make it easier to vote, more people participate in the process, strengthening our democracy,” said Sen. Santarsiero. “The Safe Drop Act will help ensure all voters are able to return their ballot in a convenient and secure manner, and that ballots will arrive to the Board of Elections in a timely fashion to be counted.”
In 2019, the General Assembly passed Act 77 updating Pennsylvania’s election code to allow for no-fault absentee voting by mail. During the 2020 elections, counties established secure drop box locations to allow voters to return their ballots in-person, though the numbers and hours of operation differed county to county.
“During both the primary and general elections last year we saw huge interest in voting by mail,” continued Sen. Santarsiero. “With concerns about the capacity of the U.S. Postal Service to make sure ballots arrived in time to be counted, ballot drop boxes provided voters with peace of mind that their vote would be counted.”
Sen. Santarsiero was recently appointed to the Senate’s Special Committee on Election Integrity and Reform, which has been hearing testimony from election administrators across the country about how they safely and efficiently oversee elections.
“In the last several weeks I have heard compelling testimony about the effectiveness of ballot drop box locations across the country in increasing participation in our elections. I will continue to advocate for measures, like the Safe Drop Act, that will increase engagement and make it easier for people to vote, ensuring the voices of all Pennsylvanians are heard through our election process,” concluded Sen. Santarsiero.