Will the Pa. House vote on election reform this fall? Don’t count on it, top Republican says

Produced By: - August 22, 2022 3:10 pm

If you were looking for the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania House of Representatives to take a run at election reform when it reconvenes next month, you might want to adjust your expectations.

A senior GOP lawmaker said Monday that he doesn’t know “what the appetite is” to vote on a reform bill in the roughly three weeks of voting sessions the chamber has scheduled before Election Day. 

“Like, we could send stuff up and get [Gov. Tom] Wolf to veto it,” House State Government Committee Chairperson Seth Grove, R-York, told reporters Monday after addressing the monthly Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon in Harrisburg. “That’s great for politics, [but it’s] not good for public policy.”

Grove, whose panel has oversight of election issues, reiterated the skepticism about a rejiggered version of an election reform bill that Wolf, a Democrat and fellow York Countian, earlier vetoed.

“We get back in mid-September, and ballots are already out the door,” Grove said of the 203-member House’s return to session on Sept. 12. The chamber is in session for the week of Sept. 12-14, then again for the week of Sept. 19. Currently, only three session days are scheduled for October: Oct. 24-26, before an Election Day break. 

“I don’t know what policies you really get done by the election,” Grove said Monday. “So that’s the other question because we’ve seen what happens when you … election policy changes so close to the elections.”

Earlier this month, the state Supreme Court, which has a progressive majority, ruled that the Legislature did not overstep its authority when it passed the 2019 law that allows for no-excuse mail-in voting. The 5-2 ruling invalidated a ruling by the lower Commonwealth Court, the Capital-Star previously reported.

Last month, Grove acknowledged the challenge of trying to get a standalone bill over the goal line, and said “this is why House and Senate Republicans put a priority on constitutional amendments.”

In July, during the frenzy of votes that led to the passage of this year’s state budget, Republicans also pushed through a five-part package of proposed constitutional amendments. It includes language requiring voters to show a valid form of ID every time they vote, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported

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John L. Micek
John L. Micek

A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press.

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