HARRISBURG >> A measure introduced by Senator Elder Vogel (R-47) that creates a special panel to review and update Pennsylvania’s election standards now also sets a new Primary Election date as the Commonwealth addresses the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senate Bill 422, which establishes the Pennsylvania Election Law Advisory Board, was amended in the House of Representatives on March 24 to move Pennsylvania’s Primary Election from April 28 to June 2 and give county election officials authority to close, relocate or consolidate polling places due to the potential shortage of available volunteers and venues.
The Senate concurred on the House amendments on Wednesday (March 25) and sent the bill to the Governor for enactment into law.
“By being in position for final legislative approval, my bill served as a way to fast-track the necessary statutory changes to provide for the well-being of voters and local poll workers during the upcoming Primary Election and I certainly support those efforts,” Senator Vogel said. “SB 422 will improve the electoral system in the future through the Election Law Advisory Board, while addressing current public health and safety concerns as well.”
The Pennsylvania Election Law Advisory Board created by SB 422 will be established under the Joint State Government Commission and charged with the following duties:
· Study the election code to identify statutory language that can be repealed, modified or updated.
· Collaborate with agencies and political subdivisions to study election-related issues.
· Study new election technology.
· Evaluate the electoral process and identify best practices to ensure voting integrity and efficiency.
· Publish an annual report with the findings on the Joint State Government Commission’s website.
Members of the board will include legislative appointees, one member of each congressional district, an advocate for individuals with disabilities, an advocate for voter’s rights, and a county election official.
“This advisory board will review Pennsylvania’s existing election laws and provide recommendations to update and streamline the voting process,” said Senator Vogel. “The need for this panel is clear. It is time that we move Pennsylvania forward to ensure our elections are fair and efficient.”