In October 2019, Governor Tom Wolf signed Act 77 into law ushering in new voting laws for the Commonwealth. Those new PA Voter law changes take effect January 2020 and include the following:
- Ability for voters to vote by mail before the election and to be included on list to permanently receive a ballot application by mail. All voters can request and submit their mail-in or absentee ballot up to 50 days before the election, which is the longest vote-by-mail period in the country.
- Provides more time for potential voters to register to vote, extending the deadline from 30 days before the current election to just 15 days prior
- Mail-in and Absentee ballots can be submitted up until 8:00 pm on election day, rather than Friday the week before election day
- Makes available a $90 million bond to help counties fund the purchase of new voting systems.
There was also a significant change made to the ballot access process. Starting in 2020, ballot access petitions no longer require notarization. Circulators are required only to perform a simple affirmation the signatures received are from valid signers in the district for which the petition was circulated. This change makes it easier for candidates to appear on the ballot, and will lower the cost and barriers to entry for new candidates.
Overall, the reforms aimed to make it easier for people to run for office and for voters to cast their ballots.
Stay tuned for more information on the new PA voter law changes for 2020, and a live webinar covering all the changes and how they might affect your race.