Bipartisan election bill introduced in Pennsylvania

The Associated Press

HARRISBURG — Bipartisan legislation to try to fix disputed or gray areas of Pennsylvania's election law was introduced Friday in the state Senate, after more than a year of lawsuits, partisan bickering and legislative stalemates inflamed by last year's presidential election.

The bill would keep the state's expansive mail-in voting law in place, even as former President Donald Trump continues to peddle baseless conspiracy theories about widespread mail-in voting fraud and Republican lawmakers sue to invalidate the law.

The bill, introduced by Sen. David Argall, R-Schuylkill, and Sen. Sharif Street, D-Philadelphia, is the product of three hearings last spring that led to a public report with recommendations.

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The Pennsylvania Capitol is shown in Harrisburg, Pa., Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021. Republicans in Pennsylvania's state Senate are preparing to test how far they can go in pursuing what the GOP calls a "forensic investigation" of last year's presidential election, as they help perpetuate baseless claims that Democrats cheated former President Donald Trump out of victory. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

It includes rules for how the Department of State gives guidance to counties on administering elections and how counties must set up drop boxes for mail-in ballots. It would not, however, block the department from giving guidance or limit or ban drop boxes or satellite election offices, as Republicans have sought.

It also largely grants the top two requests of county commissioners to help them administer elections, allowing counties three days before election day to begin processing mail-in ballots and shortening the time period in which to apply by mail for a mail-in ballot.

The bill does not include a top Republican priority of tightening Pennsylvania's voter identification provisions.