The Lead

DOS: More than 741k Pa. voters have asked for mail-in ballots

By: - May 3, 2021 3:57 pm

(Capital-Star photo)

With just two weeks until the May 18 primary election, more than 741,500 Pennsylvania voters have applied for mail-in ballots state officials confirmed Monday.

According to the Department of State, 698,280 registered Pennsylvania voters have applied for a mail-in ballot and 43,602 voters have applied for an absentee ballot for a total of 741,882 ballot applications.

At this point last year, 15 days before the presidential primary election, the department said it received 1,083,409 no-excuse mail-in ballot applications, and 233,264 absentee ballot applications, for a total of 1,316,673 mail-in ballot applications.

 “This impressive number shows the popularity of no-excuse mail voting in the commonwealth,”  acting Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid said in a statement. “Pennsylvanians have enthusiastically embraced this secure, convenient and accessible voting option.”

Act 77, which authorized the use of “no-excuse” mail-in ballots and implemented a slew of other election reforms in Pennsylvania, faced heavy criticism during and after the 2020 General Election, despite receiving widespread support for its passage in the Republican-controlled General Assembly in 2019. 

Former President Donald Trump and his GOP allies in the commonwealth used the implementation of the act and specifically the idea of forged or fraudulent mail-in ballots as support for unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.

With one election barely over, state lawmakers look to make fixes ahead of the next one

Most recently, Rep. Seth Grove, R-York, the chairman of the House State Government Committee, held a series of hearings to discuss the future of no excuse mail-in ballots and other voting reform efforts. 

Voters have until 5 p.m. on May 11 to apply for a mail-in ballot through their county election board.

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.