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State Republicans support changes to election system

Referendum proposed to change state Constitution


In what could bring sweeping changes to Pennsylvania’s election system, the House State Government Committee Monday voted to authorize a referendum on a constitutional amendment that would require “valid identification” for every voter, whether they vote in person or by mail. What constitutes such identification would be taken up in separate legislation, officials said.
The Republican-controlled committee also proposed significant changes in several other key areas of the state’s election law. The committee supports legislation that would have the secretary of state, the state’s highest election official, be an elected position, rather than one appointed by the governor; require the state auditor general to “audit” every election before results are certified and require paper ballots to have a watermark and be open to public inspection following certification of the vote for at least two years.
Pennsylvania is following several other states that are moving forward with legislation to alter election laws following claims by former President Trump that the 2020 election was “stolen” from him. Despite no evidence of fraud in the election, Republicans have continued to push for various election reform measures.
Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed a bill mandating voter ID requirements in June. At the time, he said such a requirement posed a restriction to voting and did not enhance election security.

Following the committee’s action, Lyndsay Kensinger, a spokesperson for Wolf, said in a statement the “governor will veto any bill that suppresses the vote with unnecessary restrictions or undoes the landmark election reforms of Act 77″ — the bipartisan bill that expanded no-excuse mail voting in the state.
Rep. Seth Grove (R York), chairman of the government committee, said earlier, he wants to take “election reform directly to the people.”
The earliest a referendum on the voter ID law could be presented to voters is the spring of 2023.

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