Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach has issued a co-sponsor memo stating that he is reintroducing his early voting legislation from the previous session. In the memo, Leach points to the long lines and wait times experienced from the high voter turnout in the 2008 elections as his main reasons for the bill. According to the memo, the bill is modeled off of Florida’s early voting legislation, which opens polls two weeks before the election.
When speaking about voting in 1980, Heritage Foundation founder Paul Weyrich stated “our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.” If getting people to the polls is the end game, expanding access to voter registration and access to the polls are two extremely important steps in increasing voter turnout.
Daylin Leach’s memo reads:
In the near future, I plan to re-introduce a bill on early voting in Pennsylvania (prior session SB 1152). This bill will provide for polling places to be open across the Commonwealth for the two weeks prior to Election Day. No excuse would be required to vote early and the polling places would be public, centrally located and well published, just as they are on Election Day.
The 2008 election provided an excellent example of what can happen when voter participation is high. Long lines led to voter fatigue and in some places the inability to process the unusually high number of voters. Some outlet is needed to relieve the pressure on polling places. Since Pennsylvania requires an excuse to get an absentee ballot the only other way to expand voting opportunity is through early voting.
My bill is modeled on Florida’s successful early voting provisions, in place for the 2008 election cycle. Early voting sites would be open 8 hours every weekday and a total of 8 hours every weekend in the two weeks leading up to Election Day. No one who votes early would be allowed to vote on Election Day, just as absentee voters are barred from voting on Election Day, and results of early voting would not be tabulated until after polls close on Election Day to prevent early returns from influencing later voting.