SEPTEMBER 2021 – Pennsylvania lawmakers did not wait for COVID-19 to inject uncertainty in their elections by experimenting with expanded mail voting. In Fall 2019, the Commonwealth created a no-excuse absentee system with options for permanent mail voting. It also extended the deadline for ballots to arrive by Election Day. After the pandemic, the Wolf Administration moved to extend return deadlines after Election Day and promoted the mail voting option. By Fall 2020, $8,000,000 in Mark Zuckerberg funds through the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) were used in Pennsylvania counties, funding mail voting expansions. This outcome was so predictable that PILF ordered billboards in advance. Ballot counting—which used take hours—ran on for days. Now, Pennsylvania joins several other battleground states for losing track of more ballots than the difference between winning and losing its Electoral College votes. With Act 77 of 2019 now law, this will be the new normal if left alone.

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Public Interest Legal Foundation