Focus on election changes we all agree are needed

Kyle Rivers
Advent Lutheran Church during the primary election in Springettsbury Township, Tuesday, May 18, 2021. Dawn J. Sagert photo

The last primary is far behind us, and the next general is still months away, but you would never know it in Pennsylvania, especially in York County, where a self-appointed "election integrity committee" was going door-to-door to canvass voters as if we’re in the final days of a contested campaign. Clearly, how we run our elections remains a hot-button issue.

There are several legitimate questions about the door-knockers themselves, their tactics, and who is funding their operation to ask voters about their ballot choices in 2020. Intimidation is a real concern, too, which is why local law enforcement was involved, as is the group’s overall mission, since the state’s 2020 election already has been audited and certified.

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All of this is being done against the backdrop of House Bill 1300, crafted by York County state Rep. Seth Grove, chairman of the House State Government Committee. The legislation was vetoed by the governor on June 30, largely because of the voter ID requirements it proposed, but the bill has since been re-introduced. The Senate is advancing its own constitutional amendment to mandate voter ID.

We know there are disagreements about potential election reforms. But we also know there are several areas of agreement with broad bipartisan support, like same-day registration and pre-canvassing, which would allow mail-in ballots to be reviewed by election officials in advance of election day.

If advocates truly care about election security and integrity of the process, then they would put their energy behind these simple changes, which would improve security, guarantee faster election results, and give voters a chance to correct simple mistakes with their ballots. This is what lawmakers should be working on — and what all of us as voters should be demanding be their priority.

— Kyle Rivers is an advocacy specialist with CASA.