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HB 2626 - Amends the Deadline for Mail-In Voting From 7 to 15 Days Before an Election - Pennsylvania Key Vote

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Title: Amends the Deadline for Mail-In Voting From 7 to 15 Days Before an Election

Vote Smart's Synopsis:

Vote to pass a bill that extends the deadline for mail-in voting to 15 days before an election.

Highlights:

  • Requires the Bureau of Commissions, Elections, and Legislation to issue a report no later than 60 days after an election with information including, but not limited to (Sec. 2):

    • The number of applications for absentee ballots and mail-in ballots which were received by and approved by the county board of elections;

    • The number of absentee ballots and mail-in ballots that were voted by qualified electors;

    • The number of provisional ballots cast;

    • Data regarding voter registration applications received fewer than 30 and 15 days before the election; and

    • The number of absentee and mail-in ballots that were challenged. 

  • Requires recordings of pre-canvassing meetings and canvassing meetings to be open to public inspection by an authorized representative after the close of polls on election day and preserved for at least 4 months (Sec. 4).

  • Requires election officers to be qualified registered electors of the county in which the polling place is located (Sec. 4).

  • Requires applications for official absentee ballots and applications for mail-in ballots to state the following (Sec. 5, 13):

    • Electors who apply for an absentee or mail-in ballot are not eligible to vote at a polling place on election day except by provisional ballot; and 

    • Electors who do not return the absentee or mail-in ballot by mail may personally deliver it to a member or employee of the county board of elections at the permanent offices of the board, to a member or employee of the county board at a county courthouse location designated by the board, or to a judge of elections at the elector’s polling place on election day. 

  • Amends the deadline by which an absentee ballot or mail-in application must be received, by moving up the deadline from the Tuesday prior to the day of any primary or election to 15 days prior to the day of any primary or election (Sec. 6, 14). 

  • Requires official absentee voter ballots and official mail-in ballots to state the following (Sec. 7, 15):

    • Electors who do not return the absentee or mail-in ballot by mail may personally deliver it to a member or employee of the county board of elections before election day or prior to 8 pm on election day at the permanent offices of the board or a county courthouse location designated by the board, or to a judge of elections at the elector’s polling place on election day during polling hours; 

    • Electors who receive an absentee or mail-in ballot and whose voted ballot is not timely received and who, on election day, are incapable of voting at the appropriate polling place may only vote on election day by provisional ballot; and

    • Electors must personally return or mail their ballot.

  • Amends the date by which the delivering or mailing of absentee and mail-in ballots must commence by changing it from not later than the 2nd Tuesday prior to the primary or election to not later than the 4th Tuesday prior to the primary or election (Sec. 8, 15).  

  • Requires a judge of elections to secure all ballot materials until delivery of the material to the county board of elections by 2 am the day following the election (Sec. 10, 15).

  • Requires the county board of elections to meet at least once before election day to pre-canvass all ballots received prior to the meeting (Sec. 10). 

  • Prohibits the board from pre-canvassing absentee or mail-in ballots before 8 am on the Saturday before the election or ballots received on or after the day of the election (Sec. 10).

  • Requires the county board of elections to meet no earlier than the close of polls on the day of the election and no later than 9 am the day following the election to begin canvassing absentee and mail-in ballots (Sec. 10).

  • Requires the board to notify an elector if the signature on the ballot does not match their signature on file, direct the elector to provide proof of identification and an affirmation that the elector is the same individual who personally remitted the ballot, and notify the elector that a failure to comply may result in their ballot not being counted (Sec. 10).

  • Requires the Statewide Uniform Registry of Electors (SURE) system to track applications for absentee ballots and mail-in ballots, and assign a unique scannable identification number to each such ballot envelope (Sec. 12). 

  • Increases the penalties for wilfully disobeying any lawful instruction or order of any county board of elections from a fine not exceeding $500 or imprisonment not exceeding 1 year, or both, to a fine not exceeding $1,000, imprisonment not exceeding 2 years; or both (Sec. 16). 

  • Increases the penalties for wilful false statements made under oath relating to any subject being investigated, heard, determined, or acted upon by any county board of elections from a fine not exceeding $10,000, imprisonment of not more than 5 years, or both, to a fine not exceeding $20,000, imprisonment of not more than 10 years, or both (Sec. 16).

  • Increases the fine for a candidate for office who knowingly makes a false statement regarding their eligibility or qualifications for office from $10,000 to $20,000 (Sec. 16). 

  • Increases the penalties for refusing to permit inspection of papers, destroying or altering such papers, inserting or altering entries in documents, or refusing to permit watchers or driving such watchers away, from a fine not exceeding $1,000, imprisonment of not less than 1 month and no more than 2 years, or both, to a fine not exceeding $2,000, imprisonment of not less than 2 months and not more than 4 years, or both (Sec. 16).   

  • Increases the penalties for declaring false information when obtaining a mail-in or absentee ballot, voting a ballot other than the one properly issued to them, or attempting to vote more than once from a fine not exceeding $2,500, imprisonment not exceeding 2 years, or both, to a fine not exceeding $5,000, imprisonment not exceeding 4 years, or both (Sec. 17).

Title: Amends the Deadline for Mail-In Voting From 7 to 15 Days Before an Election

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