Voters line up at an early voting satellite location at the Anne B. Day elementary school, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez) Satellite Election Office in Philadelphia
Voters line up at an early voting satellite location at the Anne B. Day elementary school, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

With many state lawmakers up for reelection this year, your vote matters more than ever in determining the future of voting rights in Pennsylvania. Based on the bills they’ve proposed, state Republicans seem to be doing all they can to restrict those rights.

Nothing is more fundamental to our democracy than the right to vote. In Pennsylvania, that right is under attack by a Republican-controlled state legislature working to pass laws that would make casting a ballot more difficult. 

Although the state’s closely watched 2020 election was carried out smoothly, many Republicans have called for election law changes after former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of widespread voting fraud.

With all 203 of the state’s House seats and half of the Senate seats up for re-election in November, voters can play a big part in determining what the future of voting rights will look like in the commonwealth.

During the 2021-2022 legislative session, state lawmakers who are up for reelection in November have introduced dozens of measures regarding voting rights and elections in the state. Bills proposed by Democrats seek to expand voter access while the overwhelming majority of bills proposed by Republicans seek to restrict it. Let’s take a look at those bills: 

House Bills

HB 195

House Bill 195 was introduced by Rep. Jim Gregory (R-Blair) in April 2021. The bill would repeal the no-excuse absentee mail-in voting provisions contained in Act 77. The bill awaits a vote in the State Government Committee.

Gregory represents the 80th House District, which includes part of Blair County. He faces Democrat Kimberly Capenos in the November election.

HB 366

House Bill 366 was introduced by Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-Philadelphia) in February 2021. The bill would establish early voting in Pennsylvania and allow for two weeks of ballot pre-canvassing—the inspection and opening of all envelopes containing official absentee ballots or mail-in ballots. The bill awaits a vote in the State Government Committee.

Kenyatta represents the 181st House District, which includes part of Philadelphia County. He is running unopposed in the November election.

HB 808

House Bill 808 was introduced by Rep. Tina Davis (D-Bucks) in March 2021. This bill would allow absentee ballots to be received and counted up to six days after the election so long as they are postmarked by Election Day. The bill awaits a vote in the State Government Committee.

Davis represents the 141st House District, which includes part of Bucks County. She faces Republican Kelly Bellerby-Allen in the November election.

HB 892

House Bill 892 was introduced by Rep. Mary Louise Isaacson (D-Philadelphia) in March 2021. The bill proposes authorizing two hours of time off from work on Election Day for an employee to vote. The bill awaits a vote in the Labor and Industry Committee.

Isaacson represents the 175th House District, which includes part of Philadelphia County. She is running unopposed in the November election.

HB 893

House Bill 893 was introduced by Rep. Liz Hanbidge (D-Montgomery) in March 2021. The bill would allow an election official to take a paper ballot—or portable voting machine—to a disabled voter outside of a physical polling place. The bill awaits a vote in the State Government Committee.

Hanbidge represents the 61st House District, which includes part of Montgomery County. She faces Republican Jessie Bradica in the November election.

HB 982

House Bill 982 was introduced by Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski (D-Luzerne) in March 2021. This bill would allow counties a period of time to pre-process—when election workers run the ballots through the counting machine—mail-in ballots based on the size of their county. Specifically, there would be three categories of pre-processing:

  • 14 days prior to Election Day for 1st and 2/2a class counties/cities
  • 7 days prior to Election Day for 3rd class counties
  • 3 days prior to Election Day for counties classes 4 through 8

The bill awaits a vote in the State Government Committee.

Pashinski represents the 121st House District, which includes part of Luzerne County. He faces Republican Nicole Harvey in the November election.

HB 1195

House Bill 1195 was introduced by Rep. Mary Jo Daley (D-Montgomery) in April 2021. This bill would make registering to vote accessible, easy, and paperwork-free. Although registering to vote online can be done now in the commonwealth, this bill would enshrine this policy in state  law so a future governor couldn’t take it away. The bill awaits a vote in the State Government Committee.

Daley represents the 148th House District, which includes part of Montgomery County. She faces Republican Fran O’Donnell in the November election.

HB 1376

House Bill 1376 was introduced by Rep. Chris Quinn (R-Delaware) in May 2021. This bill would allow curbside voting for voters with disabilities. The bill awaits a vote in the State Government Committee.

Quinn represents the 168th House District, which includes part of Delaware County. He faces Democrat Lisa Borowski in the November election.

HB 1498

House Bill 1498 was introduced by Rep. Dan Moul (R-Adams) in June 2021. This bill would require that only the voter themself can return a mail-in ballot either through the mail or in person at the county elections office. The bill awaits a vote in the State Government Committee.

Moul represents the 91st House District, which includes part of Adams County. He faces Democrat Marty Qually in the November election.

HB 1501

House Bill 1501 was introduced by Moul in June 2021. This bill would require that a secure ballot verification system be put in place to ensure each ballot counted is legitimate and has not already been counted. The bill awaits a vote in the State Government Committee.

HB 1502

House Bill 1502 was introduced by Moul in June 2021. This bill clarifies that, notwithstanding any emergency order, public health crisis, or other unexpected event, all mail-in or absentee ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day. The bill awaits a vote in the State Government Committee.

HB 1772

House Bill 1772 was introduced by Rep. Chris Rabb (D-Philadelphia) in August 2021. The bill proposes implementing ranked choice voting (also known as instant run-offs), which enables voters to rank candidates by order of preference rather than simply choosing one candidate. The bill awaits a vote in the State Government Committee.

Rabb represents the 200th House District, which includes part of Philadelphia County. He faces Republican Kionna West in the November election.

HB 1800

House Bill 1800 was introduced by Rep. Seth Grove (R-York) in September 2021. The bill includes a variety of proposals designed to make voting more difficult, including enacting restrictive in-person voter ID requirements, limiting options for returning mail-in ballots, mandate signature matching for absentee and mail-in ballots, and much more. The bill awaits a vote in the House.

Grove represents the 196th House District, which includes part of York County. He is running unopposed in the November election.

HB 2090

House Bill 2090 was introduced by Rep. Joanna McClinton (D-Philadelphia) in November 2021. The bill proposes the following changes to the state Election Code:

  • Upgrade voting system from paper to electronic
  • Allow voter pre-registration at the age of 16
  • Allow in-person voting starting 17 days before election
  • Allow pre-canvassing of ballots 21 days before election
  • Require more ballot boxes in more populated areas
  • Allow voters to drop off mail-in ballots for others in their household

The bill awaits a vote in the State Government Committee.

McClinton represents the 191st House District, which includes parts of Philadelphia and Delaware counties. She is running unopposed in the November election.

HB 2217

House Bill 2217 was introduced by Rep. Jennifer O’Mara (D-Delaware) in January. The bill proposes starting early voting 30 days before an election and ending it on the day before Election Day. The bill awaits a vote in the State Government Committee.

O’Mara represents the 165th House District, which includes part of Delaware County. She faces Republican Nichole Missino in the November election.

HB 2248

House Bill 2248 was introduced by Rep. Regina Young (D-Philadelphia) in January. The bill would require county boards of elections to notify voters if their ballot signature does not match their signature on file and allow them to provide proof of their identity to affirm their vote. The bill awaits a vote in the State Government Committee.

Young represents the 185th House District, which includes parts of Philadelphia and Delaware counties. She is running unopposed in the November election.

HB 2249

House Bill 2249 was introduced by Young in January. The bill would require the opening and inspection of absentee and mail-in ballots at least once at any point up to seven days prior to Election Day. The bill awaits a vote in the State Government Committee.

HB 2250

House Bill 2250 was introduced by Young in January. The bill would permit the pre-canvassing of absentee and mail-in ballots up to 21 days before Election Day. The bill awaits a vote in the State Government Committee.

HB 2602

House Bill 2602, also known as the Decriminalizing Spouses Act, was introduced by Rep. Michael Schlossberg (D-Lehigh) in May. The bill would allow a spouse or blood relative to return the ballot of a family member. The bill awaits a vote in the State Government Committee.

Schlossberg represents the 132nd House District, which includes part of Lehigh County. He faces Republican Bethney Finch in the November election.

Senate Bills

SB 128

Senate Bill 128 was introduced by Sen. Wayne D. Fontana (D-Allegheny) in January 2021. This bill would change the state’s voting system so that all elections are conducted entirely by mail. It would also allow the pre-canvassing of ballots up to seven days before Election Day.

Fontana represents the 42nd senatorial district, which includes part of Allegheny County. He is running unopposed in the November election.

SB 322

Senate Bill 322 was introduced by Sen. Judy Ward (R-Blair) in March 2021. This bill would allow more people to observe the pre-canvassing and canvassing of ballots, would only allow ballots received by 8 p.m. Election Day to be canvassed, and would establish procedures for when signatures on absentee or mail-in ballots don’t match. The bill awaits a vote in the Senate.

Ward represents the 30th senatorial district, which includes all of Blair and Fulton counties, and part of Cumberland, Franklin, and Huntingdon counties. She faces Democrat Carol Taylor in the November election.

SB 402

Senate Bill 402 was introduced by Sen. Patrick Stefano (R-Fayette) in March 2021. This bill would repeal the no-excuse mail-in ballot provisions enacted in Act 77. The bill awaits a vote in the State Government Committee.

Stefano represents the 32nd senatorial district, which includes all of Fayette and Somerset counties and part of Westmoreland County. He faces Democrat Sydney Hovis in the November election.

SB 422

Senate Bill 422 was introduced by Ward in March 2021. This bill proposes implementing a voter ID requirement for every election in the state and offers both photo and non-photo options of acceptable forms of ID. If a voter is unable to present a valid photo ID, they will be required to present two forms of non-photo ID. The bill awaits a vote in the State Government Committee.

SB 515

Senate Bill 515 was introduced by Stefano in April 2021. This bill would repeal the portion of Act 77 that establishes the annual mail-in voter list and would stipulate that only the Department of State may send applications for mail-in ballots to eligible voters. The bill awaits a vote in the State Government Committee.

SB 573

Senate Bill 573 was introduced by Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Franklin) in April 2021. This bill would allow all registered voters in the state to be a poll watcher in any precinct in the commonwealth. They would not be required to be a resident of the county, municipality, or precinct they are appointed to. Candidates for office would be able to appoint two poll watchers per precinct, and each political party could appoint three watchers per precinct. After passing both the House and Senate in June, the bill was vetoed by Gov. Tom Wolf in July.

Mastriano is running for governor. He faces Democrat Josh Shapiro in the November election.

SB 599

Senate Bill 599 was introduced by Sen. Steven Santarsiero (D-Bucks) April 2021. The bill would allow county boards of election to pre-canvass mail-in ballots beginning 21 days prior to Election Day. The bill awaits a vote in the State Government Committee.

Santarsiero represents the 10th senatorial district, which includes part of Bucks County. He faces Republican Matthew McCullough in the November election.

SB 819

Senate Bill 819 was introduced by Mastriano in August 2021. This bill would replace the state’s Bureau of Elections Commission, Elections and Legislation with a multi-branch commission made up of three commissioners nominated by the governor, pro temp of the Senate, and speaker of the House and confirmed by both houses of the General Assembly. The commission would oversee the administration of the election process and voter registration.

SB 914

Senate Bill 914 was introduced by Sen. Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster) in October 2021. This bill would suspend the use of mail-in ballots until the spring of 2023. The bill awaits a vote in the State Government Committee.

Augment represents the 36th senatorial district, which includes part of Lancaster County. He is running unopposed in the November election.