HARRISBURG – Despite 10 public hearings, State Government Committee meetings, and debate on the floor of the House Representatives, the Democratic minority leader apparently didn’t understand the House already took up a “comprehensive voting rights bill” in June, as she responded to a question during the Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon on Monday, Rep. Seth Grove (R-York) said today.
House Minority Leader Joanna McClinton (D-Philadelphia/Delaware) said the first bill she’d like to see before the House if she were majority leader, would be a “comprehensive voting rights bill.” In her answer, McClinton said she envisioned a bill that protects every voter and includes pre-canvassing and mail-in voting.
In response, Grove, author of the Pennsylvania Voting Rights Protection Act (House Bill 1300) issued the following statement:
“Speaking in a vacuum, what the minority leader said sounds great. But we are not in a vacuum, and the fact is, the House and Senate already passed a comprehensive reform of the election system, which strengthened and protected the integrity of each individual vote and provided an unprecedented number of options for voters to cast their ballots to ensure every voter the chance to vote.
“The fact is, the House State Government Committee held many public hearings, heard from numerous Pennsylvanians, including county and local election officials, drafted and passed a bill to provide counties with the assistance they asked for during those hearings on the election process.
“The Pennsylvania Voting Rights Protection Act would have provided counites with e-poll books to safely and securely tally votes, given local election staff more time to do their jobs and would have allowed them to start counting mail-in ballots five days prior to an election. It also would have included a Voters’ Bill of Rights, made it easier for senior citizens and those with disabilities to vote, among a host of other improvements to the election process – each change and improvement asked for by officials and/or voters.
“While I applaud Leader McClinton for her desire to improve Pennsylvania’s elections, she obviously needs reminded she loudly voted ”No” when the opportunity to make the changes she is asking for, including pre-canvassing and giving counties the resources they need to do their jobs, was in front of her and the caucus she leads.
“Fortunately, the Voting Rights Protection Act has been reintroduced as House Bill 1800
and is now in the House for consideration. It includes several Democratic measures. McClinton and the Democratic caucus have a second chance to improve our elections. I sincerely hope they heed this opportunity and work with us to pass this bipartisan bill as we make our elections better, more secure and more open to all voters.”
Representative Seth Grove
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Greg Gross