Civil Rights Groups Urge Pennsylvania Officials to Remove Barriers to Voting By Mail Ahead of June 2 Primary
HARRISBURG – All Voting is Local, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and 17 voting rights organizations called on Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar and other officials to improve access to voting-by-mail for all Pennsylvanians for the June 2 primary, particularly for non-English speakers and people who lack a PennDOT ID.
The groups point out that if officials do not act now to remove these barriers to the ballot, voters will be disenfranchised. The groups state: “We commend the efforts of the Department of State and of local officials to safeguard the right to vote while taking other steps necessary to address this serious public health crisis. However, there remain significant barriers to access to mail-in and absentee ballots for large numbers of voters throughout the Commonwealth.”
Among the group’s recommendations that are contained in the letter:
- Make the online mail-in ballot application process accessible to voters lacking a PennDOT ID Number.
- Ensure the online mail-in ballot application process is translated into Spanish on the Pennsylvania Department of State website, as mandated by law.
- Update the Department of State website and inform Pennsylvanians of all options for requesting absentee and mail-in ballot application.
- Ensure jurisdictions mail paper absentee and mail-in ballot applications and absentee ballots to voters with pre-paid return envelopes
The letter also requests that the Pennsylvania Department of State update local election officials about these changes and publicize them through a news release issued to media outlets, including Spanish-language media outlets, and through all social media outlets.
The letter, found here, is signed by the following organizations:
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
All Voting Is Local
Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools
Black Lives Matter At School
Business for America
Caucus of Working Educators
The Civics Center
Fair Elections Center
League of Women Voters Erie County Chapter
NALEO Educational Fund
Philadelphia Higher Education Network for Neighborhood Development
Philly Youth Vote
Protect Our Vote Philly
Rush Votes Team
Teacher Action Group Philadelphia
Youth Empowerment and Studies Program
Youth United for Change