Senate Republican Leaders Slam Gov. Wolf’s Veto of Bipartisan Election Code Bill

Harrisburg – Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-25) and Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-34) issued the following statement today:

“Today Governor Wolf slammed the door on a bipartisan, compromise Election Code bill that would result in more opportunities for independent and minority-party candidates to compete. Forty-three other states have recognized that straight-party voting is bad for democracy, but Governor Wolf has decided to allow this arcane practice to remain.  With a stroke of his pen, he also rejected an improved procedure that would benefit all Pennsylvanians by expanding the use of absentee ballots. 

“Further, Governor Wolf rejected a $90 million, fiscally responsible lifeline to counties in order to pay for the Governor’s cry for new election machines.  He now fully owns this unfunded mandate on counties which will result in higher property taxes across the Commonwealth. 

‘“Let us be very clear: we have heard from several rural Republicans who believe eliminating straight-party voting may have an adverse effect on their legislative races.  Nevertheless, we pursued this measure because we believe all races should be decided by individual choices, rather than group voting.  Most other states, including liberal-leaning states, agree with the elimination of straight-party voting.

“Governor Wolf’s veto makes no sense for voters, local governments or taxpayers. The repercussions of his arbitrary and partisan decision will be felt on Election Days to come and in the taxpayers’ wallets.  The General Assembly delivered a compromise bill with three positive election improvements, however, all indications are the Governor bowed to political pressures from his team in Washington, D.C.  Governor Wolf’s veto will allow the status quo to remain in order to attempt to retain an election advantage for Democrats.” 

Contact: Jenn Kocher jkocher@pasen.gov (717) 787-1377