The Senate State Government Committee today approved legislation sponsored by Senator Pat Stefano (R-32) that is aimed at protecting voter integrity and make voting easier for members of the military and overseas residents.
The panel unanimously approved Senate Bill 563, which would require Pennsylvania to develop a secure online system for military and overseas residents to return their absentee ballots electronically.
Stefano said the federal Military and Overseas Voters Empowerment Act (MOVE) of 2009 requires states to provide blank absentee ballots to military and overseas voters in at least one electronic format.
“Unfortunately, absentee voters in Pennsylvania are still required to print out their ballot, fill it out by hand, and return it by mail,” Stefano said. “My legislation will give our military personnel the option of returning their ballots by secure electronic means – making the process safe, faster and less cumbersome.”
“Our soldiers defend our right to vote every day of their lives, the least that we can do for them is to make voting for their leaders the easiest that it can be done,” he added.
He said the Pennsylvania Department of State would be responsible for developing and implementing the system. Currently, 31 states and the District of Columbia offer electronic ballot return for military and overseas voters.
The measure now goes to the full Senate for consideration.
CONTACT: Ben Wren (717) 787-7175