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Statement on PA House Passing the ‘Pre-canvassing Bill’ (HB 847)

By Press Statement


May 2, 2024

CONTACT: Kirstin Snow,

 STATEMENT on House Bill 847 – Marc Stier, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Policy Center

 Legislation would give counties 7 days to pre-canvass mail ballots ahead of Election Day

(Harrisburg, PA) — Pre-canvassing is the process by which county election officials prepare mail and absentee ballots for counting on Election Day. Pennsylvania’s voters have been waiting YEARS for approval for pre canvassing which would allow counties to manage the election process and deliver results to voters as quickly as possible. There are several reasons the Senate must pass this legislation now:

  • This legislation is not loaded with partisan wish lists; it is straightforward and supported by the County Commissioners Association, an organization with Republican leadership, and numerous organizations that support voting rights.
  • It helps address the challenges that election officials face in administering elections and getting results to people as quickly as possible, which helps provide assurance to voters that the system is working.
  • Pre-canvassing can also help protect the right to vote by providing a chance for voters to be notified if there is a technical problem with their ballot, helping to prevent voters from having their votes not counted due to small technical errors like a missing envelope or the wrong date.
  • It would avoid a replay of the 2020 presidential election, wherein it took PA election workers nearly a week to count and certify mail-in ballots, thus delaying the vote count on the national level.

The Senate must act to pass this bill — all the people who have said they have any concerns can do the one thing that local election officials from all parties have said they need. It is time for the Senate to do the commonsense thing, and that is to pass this legislation in a bipartisan fashion.


Making Our Votes Count for the Issues We Care About

By Blog Post

Voting access. Abortion access. Climate change. Public education. Redistricting.

Pennsylvanians continue to focus on critical issues that matter to our quality of life. In 2023, we showed up to elect school boards, local municipal officials, and county commissioners AND to elect judges to our local and state courts. We both voted by mail and went to the polls on Election Day, showing that we want to participate in our democracy in ways that work for us. In fact, voter turnout was higher than in 2021! A couple of key reasons: abortion access continues to be a hot topic, and people are responding to threats to voting rights and seeing, more than ever, the roles that courts play in other critical issues such as protecting our right to a “thorough and efficient” education, which was affirmed in a landmark school funding decision this year. [You can read more about our work on school funding here, including our memo on how education contributes to democracy.]

Many people do not realize that elections happen in years when there is not a high profile presidential or federal election. Pennsylvania Policy Center worked to make sure we mobilized our existing supporters and reached out to new people to remind them about the high stakes involved related to issues they care about. We partnered with Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts to provide critical information about local and state judicial elections to more than two dozen community leaders to support them in communicating with their supporters. We contacted voters directly, promoted the issues on social media, ran online ad campaigns, and collaborated with our allies and partners in Pennsylvanians Together, a statewide coalition of grassroots resistance groups, reaching more than 75,000 people with high-impact content about critical policy issues and civic participation.

Our work continues in 2024 — we will continue to make sure that our voices are represented as we advocate about all the issues that are important to us and will be making sure that we show up for democracy, for our rights and freedoms, and for each other!