A nonpartisan election reform group has come out against a bill passed by both the state House and Senate that would allow poll workers to serve anywhere in the Commonwealth.
The Voter Empowerment, Education & Enrichment Movement (VEEEM), which is a member of the nonpartisan Keystone Votes coalition, is urging Gov. Tom Wolf to veto the measure.
The bill sponsored by state senator and GOP gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano permits all registered voters of Pennsylvania will be eligible to be a poll watcher in any precinct in the state of Pennsylvania. Under current election law, poll watchers must be a resident of the county, municipality or precinct they are assigned.
“Rather than making voting easier and more convenient, especially for communities of color, this measure puts voters and election-day works at risk of intimidation,” said VEEEM Development Coordinator Deidre Lesesne. “This measure is the complete opposite of free and fair elections because it potentially could disenfranchise voters who already face barriers, because they may stay away from the polls fearing intimidation.”
“Transparency is the key to rebuilding trust in our election system, and that starts with ensuring all parties have a fair opportunity to view the vote-counting process,” Mastriano said after his bill passed in the Senate. “We saw numerous problems in previous elections where poll watchers were denied access to a polling place even with a legal certificate. We also saw issues where poll watchers were so far away from the ballot pre-canvassing process that they were forced to use binoculars. That is simply unacceptable. Improving transparency in the election process is something we should all welcome.”
The legislation now goes to Wolf’s desk for his consideration.